Sunday, March 15, 2009

paris brest

Paris Brest, a bicycle tire-shaped confection, was created by a French baker to commemorate the audacious riders who took part in the Paris Brest Paris Randonniers. The grueling bicycle event, which dated back in 1891, required the riders to complete a 1200 km (750 miles) ride from Paris to Brest, and returning to Paris within 90 hours. A daring feat that was unheard of at that time.

Paris Brest



Perhaps that could explain the baker's inspiration of filling the tire-shaped choux pastry with huge amount of calorific praline pastry cream. Someone who have completed the arduous ride has no doubt burned enough calories to justify a generous serving of Paris Brest. Traditionally, a thick layer of pastry cream is piped into the center of choux pastry "tire", and more cream is used to decorate the surrounding of choux pastry ring.

I, who have no plan in participating any bicyle race in a foreseeable future, like the updated version that chef taught us in school. The reason is simple. Another smaller choux pastry ring is inserted in the center of the big choux pastry ring. As a result, less pastry cream is required, which tastes just as palatable.

On the night when I brought the Paris Brest home, I was confronted with a severe thunderstorm. It was definitely the most arduous 10 minutes walk in my life. The act of balancing a Paris Brest on top of a St Honore in one hand, while holding a flimsy foldable umbrealla in another was trying. My shoes and socks were soaking wet by the time I got home. So was my backpack, jacket and the jeans. I felt like I had waded a stream to get home. I couldn't imagine the rough weather conditions the cyclists have to endure in their 90 hours of constant pedalling. I would have abandoned the pastries if the walk was more than 10 minutes.

the fallen brest



Perhaps the thought have offended the pastry god. Just when I was about to reach my block, the paris brest fell face down onto the ground! Thanks to the multiple layers of saran-wrap, the Paris Brest was only half - disfigured, as you can see in the picture above. It was still delicious, and remains as one of my favorite things to make and eat. :)

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

bi,

It tasted so good when I was there last week. I can only imagine how good it is fresh from the oven!

love,
OCT

Y said...

I have to make this one day, yes I do! Incredibly that it managed to make it through a thunderstorm and a fall! It looks amazing still! :)

Irene said...

Yum, I will just take that pastry cream, please!

Happy cook said...

Looks beautiful and delicious, i must admit i have only had them from bakers never made them at home, i too afrais to make them at home.

A_and_N said...

Wow I am just speechless :) That looks out of this world!

Jennywenny said...

mmmmm praline! Looks delicious!

duodishes said...

WOW! What else can one say?

Snooky doodle said...

wonderful! even if a bit squashed it looks nice and yummy :) really interesting. Paris brest is one of my target recipes I wish to make :)

Anonymous said...

Can we get the recipe?

Elyse said...

Mmm, this sounds delicious! What a fabulous creation...good to know the chef's trick for cutting the calories! That pastry cream sounds divine!

Maria said...

Nice job, who cares if it got a little messed up, I am sure it still tasted divine. You are so talented!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Even when it falls a Paris brest is delicious, ahahah!

bakingjoysinhouston.com said...

Hi Mandy, Gambatte!

I thot of you and school, remembered your blog and started reading from the point you started FPS. You made me miss school and life as a baking & pastry arts student. But I enjoy the reality now too! Savour each moment.

Remember the last time we messaged about St Honore? You didn't mention much of it in this blog except you were balancing the Paris Brest on it walking in a storm, you prefer Paris Brest to St Honore?

Keep it up, my friend! You will graduate in no time. I will continue to get my updates here. Cheers, Joys

Jude said...

If I rode 750 miles, I'd probably eat an entire paris brest as big as bicycle wheels. Looks great as always.

Dhruv Blanc said...

Wow, This is a great and different recipes. I love paris brest. This dish looks so beautiful with the colors. This is one of my favorite comfort food. It looks like the world's largest, most delicious profiterole, and I for one would love to try a paris brest. great post and great food.

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