Paris Brest by Conticini

Paris Brest_001

If you’re a pastry fan, you must certainly know about Philippe Conticini. He’s the star of the moment in the baking community. All his cooking books are best sellers. He’s the founder of the renown Patisserie des Rêves – the pastry shops where you can buy his creations including the Paris Brest that is said to be the best of Paris. This Conticini-like Paris Brest recipe is adapted by Mercotte – a famous cooking blogger – for The Best Pastry Chef TV show.

I confess I totally missed the first chou pastry batch that was all flat. This was because the dough wasn’t dry enough. I detail this important step in the following recipe. Also, note, it is easier making small chou pastry than big ones to begin. So I’ll recommend starting small :).

Paris Brest by Conticini 

Ingredients (1 big crown of 8 chou pastry or 3-4 small crowns of 6)

Crust

  • 40g/1,4oz butter at temperature
  • 50g/1,8oz brown sugar
  • 50g/1,8oz flour
  • 1 pinch of salt

Chou pastry

  • 125g/4,4oz water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 60g/2,1oz of butter
  • 80g/2,8oz flour
  • 125g/4,4oz eggs

Praline mousseline cream

  • 1/4l/8,3fl.oz whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 50g/1,8oz sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 10g/0,35oz flour
  • 10g/0,35oz corn flour
  • 150g/5,3oz butter
  • 75g/2,7oz praline

The recipe

Crust. In a robot or a bowl, mix all the ingredients. Spread it between two sheets of parchment paper to about 3-4mm/1/8 inch thickness. Cut 3-4cm/1 to 1 1/2 inch diameter circles for big choux and 1-2cm/1/2 to 3/4 inch for small ones. Store in the fridge.

Chou pastry. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Boil the water, butter, salt and sugar. Remove from heat and add the all the flour at once. Mix it well and heat again at low heat. Continue to heat while mixing with a spatula for few minutes until the dough is dry enough and forms like a ball – the recipe indicates 2 minutes, I did more like a 4-5 minutes the second time to get it right. Put the dough in a bowl. Leave to cool a bit. Add the beaten eggs (like for an omelette) and mix it well. Use a pastry bag fitted with a 1 to 1.5cm-diameter plain piping nozzle to pipe the chou pastry onto the baking tray. Pipe 4cm/1 1/2inch diameter balls for a big crown and 2cm/3/4inch for a small crowns leaving a half centimeter between big chou pastry and no space between small ones. Add the crust on top. Cook for 35-40 minutes without opening the oven. Leave to cool at room temperature.

Paris Brest cooking_001

Praline mousseline cream. In a bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks. Add the flours. Boil the milk with grated vanilla pod. Pour half the milk on the egg yolks and mix. Pour again in the saucepan. Cook on low heat for few more minutes mixing continuously until it thickens. That is your pastry cream. Pour in a bowl and film. Keep to cool at room temperature. In a bowl or a robot, mix the butter at temperature and praline. Add the pastry cream little by little and mix gently.

Dressing. Cut the crown crosswise. Pipe some cream in each profiterole. Optional, pipe some pure praline in the middle for the gourmet. Close the crown with the top. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top.

Paris Brest_002

Coconut bites (“Congolais”)

congolais_coconut cake

Coconut bites (“Congolais”) The coconut bites were one of my favorite treat as a child. And I still think it’s really enjoyable. The recipe is extremely simple and quick. A homemade 4 o’clock in just a minute. I tried to use a pastry bag to shape the bites but the texture is really thick. It might work if you have a big tip. Otherwise, just have fun – with or without kids – shaping them with hands.

Ingredients (for 18 coconut bites):

  • 150g/5,3oz grated coconut
  • 100g/3,5oz sugar
  • 3 egg whites

Directions: Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F Mix all the ingredients together. – Optional: Christophe Felder, French pastry chef, recommends to cook the ingredients for 10 minutes in a bain-marie before cooking in the oven. It reduces the oven cooking time and help keeping the cake’s heart more tender. – Make some small pyramids and shape the bites as you like. Place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cook for 15 minutes.

congolais_002

Green tea (matcha) financier cakes – egg-free

financier tea matcha cakes

Financier cakes are lovely little rectangular cakes for tea time. It’s usually made with whisked egg whites. But running out of eggs and having tofu, I tried this variation replacing the eggs by soft tofu and so reducing the fat too. Result : a good low-fat option for sweet spongy cakes with the inconvenient of having to be consumed quickly (within the day is better) to keep a nice texture. The ordinal recipe can be kept longer.

Green tea (matcha) financier cakes – egg-free

Ingredients:

  • 200g/7oz soft tofu
  • 150g/5,3oz icing sugar
  • 25g/0,9oz butter
  • 50g/1,8oz all-purpose flour
  • 80g/2,8oz almond powder
  • 1 teaspoon of green tea powder (matcha)
  • 1 pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

In a robot, mix the soft tofu, almond powder , flour, tea matcha and salt. Melt the butter and add it to the preparation. Mix again.

Pour the preparation in financier mold – I use silicon mold so I don’t need to grease it.

Cook for 25-30 minutes.

Hazelnut and chia seeds cake

Hazelnut and chia seeds cake recipe

A simple recipe for a fluffy and flavoured cake that delights hazelnut amateurs.

Hazelnut and chia seeds cake

Ingredients: (6 small cakes or 1 Ø22cm cake)

  • 150g/5,3oz de hazelnut powder
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 110g/3,9oz flour
  • 150g/5,3oz sugar
  • 10cl/3,3 fl.oz dairy milk
  • 75g/2,6oz butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 4cl/1,3fl.oz rum

Hazelnut and chia seeds cake

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F.

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with the sugar until whiten. Add soft butter, the milk, hazelnut powder, chia seeds, flour and baking powder.

Whisk the egg whites. Add half of it into the preparation and mix gently, then add the other half and mix again.

Divide the preparation into 6 small molds or 1 big round cake mold.

Cook for 35-40 minutes and let cool down before serving.

Hazelnut cake

 

Sablés bretons – French butter cookies from Brittany

Sablé breton recipe - French butter cookie

This recipe of sablés bretons (French butter cookies from Brittany) is inspired by Christophe Felder cookbook “Patisserie”. The biscuits are delicious and can also make an original and easy base for individual tartlets.

Sablés bretons – French butter cookies from Brittany

Ingredients for 10 cookies:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 85g/3oz sugar
  • 100g/3,5oz soften butter
  • 130g/4,5oz flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 5g/1 teaspoon of baking powder

 

Sablés bretons_recipe

Directions:

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until whiten. Add the soften butter (at room temperature) and mix until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt and mix until homogeneous dough.

Flaten the dough until it is 1/2 cm thick. – It’s recommended to put it in the fridge for one hour before working the dough, it will be easier ( (I usually don’t wait that long). – Cut the cookies using 5 cm round stainless steel cookie cutters (not greased or floured) that you will leave around the cookies during the baking. That’s the only way to get the specific shape of the cookies. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes at 170°C. Let them cool before removing the cookie cutters.

Sablés bretons_recipe