Paris Brest with Raspberry Whipped Cream Filling

by cakeduchess on April 27, 2012 · 47 comments

pate-a-choux-1
April in Paris. The city of lights and romance. The city of crispy baguettes and delicate pastries. The city I dream of visiting again. I felt for a moment I was there making my Paris Brest dessert.


My darling friend Jamie from the delicious blog Life’s a Feast lives in France and this month is hosting a Monthly Mingle. The Monthly Mingle created by the lovely Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey? I couldn’t wait to get baking something très français!
choux2
I settled on a Paris Brest…not the breast kind of a breast! Get your minds out of the gutter. Now what exactly is a Paris Brest. The Paris Brest is said to have been created by a pastry chef in honor of a bicycle race between Paris and Brest. It consists of a baked almond-topped choux pastry ring (patterned after a bicycle tire) that is split and filled with a praline-flavored buttercream. What was the race about? Paris–Brest–Paris (PBP) was originally a 1200km bicycle race from Paris to Brest and back to Paris. It is one of the oldest bicycling events still regularly run (the oldest being the Catford CC Hill Climb). The last time it was run as a race was 1951. (source Food Network and Wikipedia)

I’ve never been to the magical city in April but I did get to go there in a very cold November back when I was studying in France. Beautiful even on the dreary and frigid days.
paris-1
choux4
paris-2
Piping pastry cream is tricky. You have to practice and you have to move the bag swiftly, carefully and purposefully. If you move a little to the side, the pretty pattern will not be so pretty. This is the way I wanted all of my cream to look. They didn’t all look this way. But it didn’t matter…it was the taste! I don’t talk too often about puff pastries here. That doesn’t mean I don’t love them.
pate-a-choux-2
Fabrizio’s zio Antonio lives in Valle D’Aosta. Many of his pastries are influenced by French recipes and his bignè  are made with Pâte a Choux. These delicate puffs are filled mile high with the richest and most wonderful whipped cream. These little cream puffs are the ruin of me every year when we go to visit zio Antonio. That is why I hardly ever bake them here.;)
pate-choux-5
pate-a-choux-5
pate-a-choux-4
Delicate and light as air puff pastry filled with a sweet raspberry whipped cream. Making your own cream puff dough is not as difficult as it may seem. You could make something sweet or savory with this basic dough recipe. If you are going savory, omit the sugar. The dough can be spooned onto your sheet to make puffs and freeze them until you’re ready to use them.

To read more about the Monthly Mingle, April in Paris, run over to my sweet friend Jamie’s blog and read all about it. If you do participate, be sure to link to the Monthly Mingle page.

Paris Brest with Raspberry Whipped Cream Filling

Pâte a Choux-Cream Puff Dough
dough adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table


1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup of almond slivers

Raspberry Whipped Cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup whipped cream
1 cup fresh raspberries

Raspberry Whipped Cream Directions:
Puree the raspberries in a mixer. Strain the raspberries through a fine sieve and set aside (you need to remove the seeds from raspberries).

If you like your cream sweeter, add a little more powdered sugar. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the raspberry coulis and beat on low speed until combined. Set in refrigerator to chill while you prepare the dough.

To make the Pâte a Choux-Cream Puff Dough:

In a heavy sauce pan, combine the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil. Add the flour and stir until smooth with a heavy wooden spoon.
DSCN9970
Turn the heat up to high and cook the flour mixture stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. The flour will be cooked when a thin film forms on on the bottom. You are essentially drying out the dough and the process should take about 4-5 minutes.
DSCN9972
Transfer the dough to the bowl of a mixer (I used a stand mixer) and let the dough rest a minute or two. Add the eggs to the dough one at at time on medium speed until the dough is thick and smooth.
DSCN9976
DSCN9977
DSCN9979
The dough needs to be used as soon as it’s made. It can’t be put in the refrigerator to use later, so make sure you are ready to go when it’s done.)
*You could draw with a  pencil 8 circles on your parchment paper lining your baking pans to help you follow the design and make them evenly shaped. Place the dough in a pastry bag using a star tip (or plain round) 1/2 –inch tip and pipe onto parchment lined baking sheets forming 8 circles.
DSCN9981
Sprinkle with almond slivers and bake at 375 F for about 22-26 minutes (omit the almonds if you need to. still will be wonderful!). If you open the door, the puffs may deflate. The dough should be golden colored. Allow the puffs to rest on the baking sheet.

Assembling the Paris Brest:

After the dough has cooled, carefully slice in half the pastry rings. Pipe the chilled whipped cream on the bottom layer of the rings. Top with the other halves and dust with powdered sugar.

Happy baking! Thanks for stopping by :)

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

El April 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm

This looks incredible. I’ve never seen this dessert with raspberry before but you did an amazing job. Excellent choice for the mingle!

Reply

Lizzy April 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Stunning, Lora! Just a work of art! I’ve made this before, but the raspberry pastry cream takes it to another level! YUM.

Reply

Angie's Recipes April 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Those are also very popular over here…yours look bakery perfect!

Reply

Paula April 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm

I love choux pastry! Those cream puffs shown certainly are filled to unbelievable whipped cream heights. Your Paris Brest look amazing and I love that you flavoured your whipped cream.

P.S. Loved hearing about the history of these.

Reply

Rachel @ Baked by Rachel April 27, 2012 at 7:49 pm

You had me at raspberry – wow these are gorgeous and positively tasty!

Reply

Kathy April 27, 2012 at 7:49 pm

These are absolutely stunning! I would love to be having one right now…I can never turn down a puff pastry! Love the raspberry pastry cream…delicious looking!

Reply

Renee @ Tortillas and Honey April 27, 2012 at 9:15 pm

That is so lovely! I totally don’t have the steady have to make that for sure! ;-)

Reply

Kimberly (unrivaledkitch) April 27, 2012 at 11:25 pm

fantastic. So beautiful

Reply

Gina April 28, 2012 at 2:07 am

I need one of these, you have no idea how badly. I’ve been making a ton of gougeres, will have to try this next time. Whip cream is my weakness. Hope all is well and that you have a great weekend.
-Gina-

Reply

Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef April 28, 2012 at 8:15 am

I think one of these could take me out of the funk I’ve been in all day. It’s either one of these or a nap! :) It looks fantastic.

Reply

Jamie April 28, 2012 at 8:28 am

I LOVE your Paris Brest! And you beat me to it – I have long wanted to make these beauties but keep putting it off! I love making choux! And one can fill them with anything, sweet or savory. Your raspberry whipped cream is wonderful! Okay, my turn! Thrilled you baked these for my Monthly Mingle! xo

Reply

Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane April 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Praline flavoured buttercream – yum! I love the instagram shots too :) I think your pastry cream piping came out great!

Reply

Lisa April 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Absolutely gorgeous, Lora..and I love how you made individual ‘brests’. I could see these in a window of a high-end patisserie. The raspberry whipped cream is driving me crazy! I want to eat itwith a spoon! What a luscious and stunning MM submission! You are a pastry goddess!

Reply

Karriann April 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm

That looks absolutely decadent! Yummy ;)

“Happy Cooking”

Reply

Deb April 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Your Paris Brest is gorgeous! I find the raspberry whipped cream to be a marvelous pairing with the ethereal pastry.

Reply

Sara @OneTribeGourmet April 29, 2012 at 3:47 am

Gorgeous post! I’m speechless! Love the light and airy puff pastry filled with raspberry whipped cream…YUM!

Reply

Jennie @themessybakerblog April 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm

This looks amazing. I want to take my finger and dip it into the fluffy center. Yum!

Reply

lael Hazan @educatedpalate April 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I love how the light plays with your first photo! Gorgeous. Now, can I get my daughter to make these for me…. hmn… she isn’t a fan of nuts, how do you think it would be without the almonds?

Reply

Magic of Spice April 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Oh wow that is just beautiful! No doubt just as delicious as it is gorgeous :)

Reply

Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) April 29, 2012 at 8:32 pm

My goodness, so much to love about this sweet treat. So pretty and I love the raspberry whipped cream. I bet these just as tasty as they are pretty, Lora. :)

Reply

Vicki @ WITK April 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm

The raspberry cream might not make it into the pastry rings in my house! :) Love raspberry anything! I’m also wanting one of those super tall brests in the bakery window picture! Lovely dessert and pics here!

Reply

Paula - bell'alimento April 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Will you bring me a dozen now per favore? ; ) xoxo

Reply

Elle April 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Beautiful! I could eat a few of those right now. And some more later! So light and pretty!

Reply

Carolyn April 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm

You did a gorgeous job on that, Lora. It’s perfect!

Reply

Amy April 30, 2012 at 1:38 am

This looks and sounds amazing! Such a light yet rich dessert, and I love that you have added raspberry to the filling!

Reply

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! April 30, 2012 at 7:16 am

wow Paris Brest sounds incredible! and looks beautiful

Reply

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! April 30, 2012 at 7:16 am

wow Paris Brest sounds incredible! and looks beautiful

Reply

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! April 30, 2012 at 7:16 am

wow Paris Brest sounds incredible! and looks beautiful

Reply

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! April 30, 2012 at 7:16 am

wow Paris Brest sounds incredible! and looks beautiful

Reply

SweetSugarBelle April 30, 2012 at 11:22 am

These are dreamy, Lora!!!

Reply

bunkycooks April 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Another beautiful dessert! Maybe we can all meet in Paris sometime and enjoy one of these beautiful pastries. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true?! Until then, I will drop in on you soon in Florida and you can make one for us to have there. :-)

Reply

Happy When Not Hungry May 1, 2012 at 12:16 am

This looks beautiful! Paris is one of my favorite cities and I’ve only been there once! Love this. Nice job!

Reply

Barbara | Creative Culinary May 1, 2012 at 12:49 am

This is nothing less than amazing. What else can I say? AMAZING!

Reply

Jersey Girl Cooks May 1, 2012 at 11:52 am

Gorgeous dessert!

Reply

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme May 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm

What an absolutely beautiful post! Pate a choux is one of those classics that I, sadly, have never attempted in my own kitchen. However, your gorgeous Paris Brest has inspired me to give it a go.

Reply

Ilke May 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Beautiful, wish we had more bakeries in the US like they have in Europe! Have been wanting to try this dough. How big the circles are?

Reply

Cake Duchess May 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Hi Ilke-Thank you!I have the same wish;) The circles were about 5 inches diameter;)xx

Reply

Beth Michelle May 2, 2012 at 10:43 am

I just got back from a week in Paris this April! It was magical! I would love to go in the winter to see the city blanketed in a thin layer of snow!I love this Paris Brest. It looks delicious and is beautiful!

Reply

Natalie Atick May 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm

This is just gorgeous! I bet it was really good too!

Reply

Sally - My Custard Pie May 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm

You must have a lot of patience to make them look this gorgeous. Bravo

Reply

Mari May 4, 2012 at 3:51 am

This looks spectacular! I have fallen in love with this filling! Your focaccia look scrumptious!

Have a wonderful weekend :)

Reply

Sue May 4, 2012 at 4:36 am

These look so delicate and delicious!

Reply

RecipeNewZ May 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm

These puffs look amazing – light and delicious! And the photos are gorgeous :-). I wish I could have one of those pastries with a cup of tea now…

Reply

Tara May 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm

This looks so amazing, I am going to add it to my Mouth Watering Mondays post, come on over next Monday to see it at http://www.noshingwiththenolands.com Cheers, Tara

Reply

Brittany Campbell May 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

That is a great flavor idea! I love Paris-Brest especially from Patisserie de Reve with little hidden pockets of praline in the cream. Raspberry sounds amazing though!

Reply

Samantha June 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm

When do you add the milk???

Reply

cakeduchess July 1, 2013 at 8:08 am

Add the milk when you add the water.:)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: