Paris Brest with Almond Praliné Crème

Paris Brest is made with pate a choux, pastry cream, praline, and almonds. Making a Paris Brest with almond praliné crème will make anyone feel confident in their choux-making abilities.

They are beautiful, delicious, and a fun experience from start to finish. If you feel uncertain about whether or not you can make these, remember that it’s a simple combination of choux, pastry cream, almonds, and caramel. It’s really that simple! Read below for the recipe.

Almond Paris Brest

French Patisserie 101: Part 7

I hope you are enjoying this intro series for choux pastry! Once you master choux, you can make so many different desserts. I like to think of making a Paris Brest as a milestone or big achievement because they are beautiful, impressive, and delicious.

Even if you haven’t gone through the other parts of this series, you are welcome to try this recipe. If you feel uncertain about how to make choux, then head back to part one of this series for all the details.

So for this series, we have learned how to make cream puffs, chouquettes, two kinds of craquelin, two kinds of eclairs, and now Paris Brests. You should feel quite accomplished for making any or all of these desserts!

Before we get into the recipe, here are the other parts of this series in case you need a review.

Paris Brest with almond praline creme

What is a Paris Brest Pastry?

A traditional Paris Brest pastry consists of a pate a choux pastry ring that’s shaped like a wheel. After baking, the ring is sliced open and filled with hazelnut praline pastry cream. For some extra texture and flavor, we add almonds and powdered sugar on top.

For this recipe, however, we are changing things up just a bit. Instead of the traditional hazelnut filling, we use an almond praline creme filling. It’s a nice variation on the traditional recipe.

I chose almonds for this recipe because hazelnuts are expensive and not as easy to come by (they’re easier to find during the holiday season).

At least where I live, I can’t find them in most grocery stores, so I chose to make this so that anyone could make it at home whether or not they have access to hazelnuts.

If you can find hazelnuts, substitute them completely for the almonds or do a half-and-half mix for the praline paste. Either way, your Paris Brest pastries will taste amazing!

And as a side note, this pastry was created in honor of the Paris-Brest bike race. Hence, it’s shaped like a wheel in honor of the bikers.

flatlay of mini paris brests with almonds, powdered sugar, and almond pastry cream

What is Almond Praline Paste Made of?

Almond praline paste, which is key in making the almond praline pastry cream, consists of almonds and sugar.

To make the praline paste, first, toast the almonds on a lined sheet pan. Make caramel, and then pour it over the almonds. Once it cools, the almond praline goes into a blender until blended into a smooth and somewhat liquid paste.

It tastes like liquid gold, and it adds a lot of flavor to the already delicious pastry cream!

How to Store Almond Praline Paste

Store almond praline paste at room temperature in an airtight container or jar for up to a week. If you will not use it within a week, freeze it for up to a month.

If the paste seems grainy after thawing, blend it in the blender again to smooth it out.

paris brest open showing the pastry cream

How to Make a Paris Brest

Make the Pate a Choux Rings

To make the Paris Brest with almond praline creme, prepare the choux paste first. Combine butter, milk, water, sugar, and salt in a pot. Bring it to a simmer, and then add flour. Stir for two minutes, then transfer the dough to a stand mixer. Once in the stand mixer, add up to 250 grams of egg, and the dough is ready.

We then pipe the choux dough into 3-inch rings with a French star tip, sprinkle it with almonds and powdered sugar, and bake.

Make the Almond Praline

As stated in the sections about praline, we first toast whole or slivered almonds on a baking tray.

Next, pour your sugar into a medium pot or large pan and make caramel. Pour the caramel over the nuts and let cool.

Blend the caramel and nuts up in a good blender until it turns into a paste.

Make the Pastry Cream

To make the pastry cream, combine milk and sugar in a pot and bring to a simmer. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and cornstarch.

Once the milk simmers, slowly pour it into the egg mixture and whisk rapidly to temper the eggs so they don’t scramble.

Return the mixture to the pot and cook until it comes to a boil. Once boiling, continue to whisk for a minute or two longer. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and vanilla, and strain into a bowl to remove any scrambled egg bits. Refrigerate for a couple of hours to set the pastry cream.

How to Assemble a Paris Brest with Almond Praline Creme

Cream the praline and some butter in a mixer until smooth. Add the pastry cream and whip with a whisk attachment until smooth.

Cut the choux rings in half and pipe the filling into the bottom half. Top with the top ring and dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

close up of a paris brest
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Paris Brest with Almond Praline Creme

Almond Paris Brest close up of side to show piped design and dusted powdered sugar

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  • Author: Camille
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Chill Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Paris Brests 1x
  • Category: Pastries

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Choux Pastry

  • 158 ml (2/3 cup) water
  • 79 ml (1/3 cup) whole milk
  • 113 g unsalted butter
  • 10 g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (Morton’s)
  • 120 g all-purpose flour
  • 45 large eggs
  • Slivered almonds
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • Piping bag
  • French star tip

For the Thick Pastry Cream

  • 1 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 4 tsp cold water
  • 474 ml (2 c) whole milk
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 30 g cornstarch
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 41 g (3 Tbs) unsalted butter

For the Almond Praline Creme

  • 80 g whole or chopped almonds
  • 70 g granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt (Morton’s)
  • 113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (save butter until the assembling stage)

Instructions

To Make the Paris Brest Rings

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 175 C. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and cold water, gently stir, and set aside.
  2. Place the eggs in a blender and blend for a few seconds until blended (2-3 seconds). Set aside.
  3. Add water, milk, butter, salt, and sugar in a medium-sized pot. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a simmer.
  4. Remove from heat, add the flour and stir. Return the pot to the heat and cook for 2 more minutes on medium heat to remove flour taste, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove the dough from heat and pour it into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  6. Turn the mixer to low and mix until the dough temperature reaches 125 F (50 C).
  7. Slowly add the egg mixture to the pate a choux in 7-10 additions. You know you’ve added enough egg when you can draw a line in the dough, and it slowly sinks back in. 
  8. Pipe the pate a choux into 3-inch rings with a French star tip, spacing them 2 inches apart. Dust with powdered sugar and sprinkle with sliced almonds on top.
  9. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until choux rings are golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and make a one inch slit in the side of each ring.
  10. Turn the oven off and put the choux rings back into the oven. Leave the oven door cracked open and allow the rings to dry out and cool in the oven for an hour.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before filling.

For the Almond Praline Paste

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a half sheet pan with a silicone baking mat and spread out the almonds. 
  2. Bake for 8 minutes so that the nuts release their oils and begin to toast.
  3. In a large pan, add the sugar and turn the burner onto medium or medium-low heat. Do not stir the sugar. Cook the sugar until it begins to melt, then gently swirl the sugar around so that the unmelted sugar absorbs into the liquid sugar.
  4. This will take some time, about 10 minutes. Once the sugar is completely melted and turns the color of a brown paper bag, pour over the almonds and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  5. Once cool, break the caramel and almonds up place in a food processor. Blend until it forms a sticky paste. Set aside until needed (and allow to cool if it’s hot from being blended).

To Make the Pastry Cream

  1. Combine milk and 1/2 of sugar in a medium pot. Cook on medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. While the milk is coming to a simmer, combine the remaining sugar and cornstarch, and whisk, then add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth.
  3. Once the milk is simmering, slowly pour half of it into the egg mixture, whisking quickly so that the eggs don’t scramble. 
  4. Return the mixture to the pot and place it on medium heat, whisking quickly so the pastry cream doesn’t burn. After a minute or two, the pastry cream will boil and thicken to a consistency similar to pudding. Continue to stir for one minute after it begins to boil so that the cornstarch taste disappears.
  5. Remove from stove immediately, add the gelatin and stir. Then add the butter and vanilla, and stir until butter fully blends in. 
  6. Pass the pastry cream through a fine mesh strainer to make sure no egg bits remain. This step is optional but recommended for super smooth pastry cream. 
  7. Transfer the pastry cream to a clean storage container. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream so that it does not form a “skin.” Chill the pastry cream for 45 minutes.
  8. Once chilled, add the praline paste and whisk to combine. Chill for at least 3 hours before using.

To Assemble the Paris Brest with Almond Praline Creme

  1. First, make the almond praline creme. To do this, whip the butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. 
  2. Switch to a whisk attachment and add the praline pastry cream. Whip until light and creamy.
  3. Next, cut the choux rings in half horizontally. Pour the almond praline creme into a piping bag fitted with a French star tip. Pipe the cream into the bottom halves of the rings and top with the top halves.
  4. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy. I also like to refrigerate the filled choux rings for about an hour before serving them to ensure the pastry cream is nice and cold, but this is completely optional.
  5. Paris Brests are best served the same day they are made. If preparing ahead, don’t assemble until the day you need them. You can crisp the choux rings in the oven for 10 minutes if needed, and then fill them.

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