French recipes: Conticini’s Paris-Brest and homemade praliné
I’m continuing with Mr Conticini’s recipes and today I’ve got one of his classic pastries for you: the Paris-Brest. Don’t be scared to try it, the recipe is a good one!
As it can be tough to find praliné (around me, at least), I made it myself, which was also easy enough, you just need a good automatic mixer. I found that recipe here.
There was only one small problem with the original recipe: the proportions! I was left with a fair amount of dough (enough to make two of this Paris-Brest recipe) but not enough cream filling to fill even one. So I had to quickly make some more filling. To fill all the pastry, you’ll need to quadruple the measurements for the praliné cream, which is kind of strange for a famous pastry chef’s cookbook…
With the measurements below, you can make two ‘small’ Paris-Brests with enough cream filling for both. This should satiate the hunger of eight to ten people no problem – depending on the people…
Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of this decadent praliné, which I used to sweeten the Paris-Brest filling and the rest… hey, who did eat the rest???
I promise the next recipes will be a bit lighter, really! I’m keeping your beach body in mind!
Paris-Brest and Homemade Praliné
Delicious to top off of a celebratory dinner to impress your guests, but also for tea parties among girlfriends!
Prep time: 1hr 20mins
Cook time: 50mins
Start-to-finish: 3hr 40mins
100g organic hazelnuts
100g organic almonds
200g organic white cane sugar
40g organic butter
50g brown sugar
50g organic flour
a pinch of fleur de sel
12.5cl water (125ml)
12.5cl half-skim milk (125ml)
110g organic butter
5 organic eggs
140g organic flour
1 heaped teaspoon organic white cane sugar
1 teaspoon fine salt
62cl half-skim milk (620ml)
60g corn starch
120g organic white cane sugar
8 egg yolks
3 sheets organic gelatin
320g homemade praliné
280g organic butter
1. Start by preparing the praline. Heat the 200g of sugar with the almonds and hazelnuts in a pot. Keep mixing until the nuts are covered in caramel, then pour the entire mixture onto a silicone sheet and allow it to cool.
Once it has cooled, break the caramel into big chunks using a rolling pin and place them in an electric mixer. Pulse the mixture gently, otherwise you can kiss your mixer goodbye! Eventually, the mixture will become praline and then its consistency will change.
Once the mixture is nice and smooth, place it in a bowl in the refrigerator.
2. To prepare the crumble, take the butter (40g) out of the fridge 30 minutes in advance. In the electric mixer’s bowl, mix 50g of flour with 50g of brown sugar and the sea salt. Combine using the electric mixer and add the softened butter. Stop mixing when the dough has come together smoothly.
3. With a rolling pin, roll out the crumble mixture between two sheets of waxed paper until it is about 2 mm thin. Cut 16 circles (3cm in diameter) and put them in the fridge for later.
4. To prepare the praline cream, dip the gelatin sheets in cold water. Pour 62cl (620ml) of milk into a pot and bring to a boil.
While the milk heats, whisk the 5 egg yolks with 120g of sugar until the mixture has whitened. Add the corn starch. Mix well and add half the milk, continuing to stir. Pour the entire mixture back into the pot with the remaining milk. Bring to a boil for one minute, continuing to stir until the cream thickens.
Off the heat, add the gelatin sheets (patting them dry first), the praline and lastly the butter. Give the cream a whizz in the electric mixer to achieve a homogenous consistency. Pour the whole mixture into a big dish and cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap touches the mixture. Leave in the fridge for at least one hour.
5. To cook the pastry, preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Fill a soft pastry bag with choux pastry dough. Pipe the dough on a silicone tray or a well-buttered oven tin.
The Paris-Brest will be about 16cm in diameter, so make the pastry using the hands of a clock as your guide: one at 12 o’clock, another at 6, one at 3 o’clock and another at 9, then pipe four balls of dough between those already made. Follow the same method with the rest of the dough to make a second Paris-Brest. Top each pastry ball with a little disc of the crumble mixture and put into the oven for 45 mins. Let it cool to room temperature.
7. All that’s left is the decoration! Take out the cream and whip for three minutes in the electric mixer on medium speed. With a bread knife, cut very carefully around the top of the choux pastry balls – as if you were taking off a crown-shaped hat. Fill the hollow centres with praline cream using a pastry bag. Put the hat back on and dust with icing sugar.
8. Bon appétit!
Click here to read this recipe in French on Ma P’tite Campagne.
Et vous, what are your favourite French recipes? Share in the comments box below!Translated by Niamh Cloughley. Image credits:
All images ©Mélanie Boré.