This is the ultimate French classic. I mean, it has the word "Paris" in it.
I've been so longing to do one by myself only because I've seen some beautiful beautiful pieces displayed on the counters of various pâtisseries in Paris and I wanted to have a go at it; an attempt to make my version of a classic Paris Brest and hopefully comparable to some of those in France.
Essentially, Paris Brest is praliné. And praliné is hazelnut. Sometimes it consists of almonds and hazelnuts but most of the time it's at least 70% noisette. It is often, if not always, filled inside a Pâte à Choux which is just perfect because (hollow pastry + smooth and creamy hazelnut cream)? Doesn't that just make sense!
Over the years, this French classic has grown, elevated, been recreated and even modified in so many ways. One of the best modified and improved version was to pipe some oozy gritty homemade praliné inside the cream so when you bite into it, you get added texture and flavour.
Chefs have also recently done Paris Brest with citron because the acidity cuts the richness of this heavy dessert quite marvelously. That being said, the entire world would probably know that the classic and original Paris Brest is so delicious that one wouldn't mind the richness of it. I certainly don't.
I decided to go pretty simple with this Éclair of a Paris Brest only because I really like how a Paris Brest should be and taste.
Also, since I came back to Singapore, it has been spring cleaning the past couple of days and mum made me clean out all the fridges and freezers. It was then that I found extra éclair choux batter all nice and really to be baked, praliné paste and crunchy praliné. All I had to do was make some crumble, some crème mousseline and I was good to go.
So this has 5 components:
1. éclair pâte à choux
2. praliné mousseline
3. crunchy liquid praliné
4. crispy thin hazelnut wafer
5. crumble for the choux
The results were quite lovely. Smooth luscious caramelized hazelnut cream with texture from the choux of course, as well as the crispy wafer and oozy crunchy praliné inside of it.
I really liked the texture of this crème mousseline. Airy and light but still rich, as how a Paris Brest should be like. The base of it is actually kind of like a pastry cream which you leave to set till it's real cold and then you whip it up in your mixer to achieve that fluffy quality.
Imagine creaming butter and sugar together.
Since this is my own test, I suppose I am free to express my disappointments about it. In all honestly, I don't quite love the way it looks. It doesn't look refined and beautiful enough. It doesn't scream "wow" and it certainly looks pretty "blah" to me. So this would be Paris Brest // Test 1. I hope for when I feel more inspired in the future, I'd make a better one that I'm proud of.
The flavour and texture was lovely. That I can't deny and I'm pretty happy with it. As for its aesthetic aspect... hopefully someone out there likes the visuals better than I do.
I solemnly promise to do a better job the next time I get back to a Paris Brest.