First off, a Happy Father’s Day to my dad, the master pastry chef! He’s the one who’s taught me all that I know about cakes and desserts, with tips and tricks from the trade. No matter what, his desserts still trump all the other fancy pants ones out there.
I have to admit it’s been quiet for the past little while. I went back to Canada for two weeks where I had the honour of attending two weddings. Best part about this? My dad was asked to make the wedding cakes. And just like old times, he would put me in charge of decorating. We were given free reign on this front which is always fun, but also very daunting. Thankfully, fresh flowers always seem to do the trick 😉 (finished products over on Instagram here and here!).
Since being back in the UK though, I’ve been easing my way back into a bit of baking. This Paris-brest was a last minute decision to include as a dessert for a roast dinner I had last weekend when my friends were visiting from Germany. It’s simple, easily adaptable and the perfect choice when you want something a little less ordinary that doesn’t take too much time away from your roast dinner prep.
I took advantage of all the berries that are available now and used those rather than the standard praline cream that’s traditionally used.
Part 1: Choux pastry
2g Salt (if using salted butter, omit)
120g All purpose flour
Almond flakes, to decorate
1 Egg for egg wash
- Preheat the oven to 200℃/400℉.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large pot, cook water, butter, salt and sugar over medium heat until it just boils.
- Add in flour, keep stirring until the mixture forms a dough that separates from the pot’s sides and base – it will become quite stiff at this point.
- Remove from heat and add one egg at a time, mixing in between each one to ensure it is well incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
- NOTE: careful that the eggs aren’t added while the pot isn’t over the heat, as the eggs could become scrambled.
- Scoop into a piping bag and using a star nozzle, pipe a bit of pastry on the underside of all 4 corners of the baking sheet – this will help keep it down.
- Pipe two thick rings, about 8” each.
- With the remaining choux pastry (if any), pipe 1 inch balls spaced an inch apart on a baking sheet.
- Brush with egg wash, sprinkle the tops with almond flakes and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 175℃/350℉ for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool until you are able to handle it. Using a serrated knife, carefully slice your rings and balls horizontally to make a “lid” for each. Place insides facing up.
- Return tray back to the oven to dry out for another 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Part 2: The filling
250mL double cream
2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
2 pints fresh berries of your choice
Icing sugar for dusting
- In a medium sized bowl, use an electric hand mixer to whisk the double cream and maple syrup until softly whipped.
- Spoon the whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle.
- Pipe a generous ring within the bottom layer of the choux ring.
- Place berries around the ring, equally spread out.
- Pipe a generous ring of cream on the inside of the choux pastry lid choux and sandwich with the bottom layer.
- Dust the tops liberally with icing sugar
- Repeat steps 3-6 with the remaining pastry rings