The wheel-shaped round pastry was developed in 1910 by Maisons-Laffitte pastry chef Louis Durand at Pierre Giffard’s request to honor the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race he had started in 1891. Its round form is reminiscent of a wheel. Due in part to its energizing, high caloric content, and intriguing name, it gained popularity among cyclists competing in the Paris-Brest cycle race, and is now available in patisseries across France.
Paris–Brest Cake Recipe
For the Praline Paste:
- 1 1/2 ounces (45ml) water
- 2 1/2 ounces (6 tablespoons; 70g) sugar
- 2 ounces (about 3 tablespoons; 60g) light corn syrup
- 2 ounces (heaping 1/3 cup; 60g) toasted blanched hazelnuts (see note)
- For the praline paste, lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet (a half-size baking sheet will do, but a quarter-size is better), then set it aside. Water, sugar, corn syrup, hazelnuts, almonds, and salt should all be combined in a 2-quart saucier or saucepan made of stainless steel. Cook mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly with a heat-resistant spatula to prevent scorching and ensuring sugar dissolves, or until mixture turns a tawny brown and a clip-on digital thermometer reads 320°F (160°C).
- When the candy has reached the desired consistency of foaminess, remove it from the heat and whisk in the baking soda right away. Next, pour the candy onto the prepared baking sheet. After roughly 30 minutes of cooling to room temperature, immediately move on to the next stage (if praline is allowed to sit out for an extended period of time after cooling, it will turn tacky and soft).
- Praline should be broken up and placed in the food processor's bowl. Pulse the candy several times to break it up, then let the food processor run continuously for about three minutes, or until the praline becomes a thick paste like peanut butter. Paste should be poured into a small basin, covered, and left alone.
- For the Choux, set the oven rack in the center and heat the oven to 375°F (190°C). On a piece of parchment paper measuring 12 by 18 inches, draw an 8-inch circle in the center with a pen or pencil. Put the parchment in a baking sheet with a rim so that the drawn ring is on the bottom. Under each corner of the parchment paper around the baking sheet, pipe a tiny bit of choux paste (the dough acts as a glue and keeps the paper in place as you pipe).
- Total Fat 48g 61%
- Saturated Fat 22g 111%
- Cholesterol 207mg 69%
- Sodium 497mg 22%
- Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
- Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
- Total Sugars 26g
- Protein 15g
- Vitamin C 1mg 4%
- Calcium 322mg 25%
- Iron 1mg 8%
- Potassium 318mg 7%
The Paris-Brest is a traditional French pastry that consists of a baked ring of pâte à choux that has been baked to a crisp, almond-studded exterior, split horizontally in half, and liberally filled with praline crème mousseline, a decadent concoction of vanilla pastry cream, nutty praline paste, and whipped butter, and dusted with powdered sugar.