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.

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Prune clafoutis

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Prune clafoutis is an easy and quickly done dessert that is prefect for the season. I used greengage plum for this recipe but any kind of prune will do.

Prune clafoutis

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 500g/17,5oz prune
  • 2 eggs
  • 20g/0,7oz almond powder
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 60g/2,1oz sugar (+2 teaspoons)
  • 15cl/5fl.oz milk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of rum
  • 1 small piece of butter

prune clafoutis_003

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Beat the egg and sugar until whiten. Add the flour, almond powder and a pinch of salt. Mix. Add the milk and rum. Mix it well.

Cut the prune in two half. Remove the kernel. Cut in segments.

Place the segments in the buttered ramekins. Sprinkle with sugar. Divide the egg preparation and pour in the four ramekins.

prune clafoutis_001

 

Nuts for a chocolate marble cake

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Chocolate marble cake is an elegant cake that traditionally alternates layers of vanilla and chocolate. Hazelnut just make it a little more gourmet. The cake is easy to transport and so it’s part of the category called gateau de voyage (travel cake) in France. Given to LeNôtre, it’s best to store the cake in the fridge for few hours before baking.

Nuts for a chocolate marble cake – hazelnut and chocolate marble cake

Ingredients (for 1 cake):

  • 3 eggs
  • 150g/5oz flour
  • 100g/3,4oz hazelnut powder
  • 100g/3,4oz chocolate (dark or milk – I use the dark)
  • 180g/6,1oz sugar
  • 75g/2,5oz butter
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 20cl/7fl.oz milk
  • A pinch of salt

hazelnut and chocolate marble  cake_004

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F.

Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Whisk the egg yolks with sugar until whiten. Melt the butter and add to the mixture. Add the flour and baking powder. then, the milk and a pinch of salt. Mix it well. Whisk the egg whites until firm. Add in three times to the preparation and mix gently with a rubber spatula.

Divide the mixture in two bowls. Melt the chocolate and incorporate gently into one of the preparation. Add the hazelnut powder to the other and mix gently.

In a cake mold, pour half the hazelnut mixture, then the chocolate and finish with the other hazelnut half. Mix it just a little bit with a fork.

Cook for 40-45 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

 

Strawberry and rhubarb crumble

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This weekend, I stopped by Cojean, a French gourmet shop selling fresh, tasty and healthy food Expensive but good. I had a fresh fruit juice but as always a delicious looking dessert caught my eye. I approached and saw this perfect strawberry and rhubarb crumble that just looked awesome. Simple as I like. Simple as I could do it at home. And so did I. Rhubarb is a tasty seasonal fruit, cheap and acidulous. Strawberry perfectly matches and balances the rhubarb acidity. The cashew crumble spices the dessert with a pinch of salt.

Rhubarb and strawberry are a great combination. It’s excellent in pies like the rhubarb and strawberry tart.

Strawberry and rhubarb crumble

Strawberry and rhubarb crumble_004

Ingredients (4 servings) :

  • 350g/12,5oz de rhubarb
  • 200g/7oz strawberry
  • 50g/1,8oz sugar

Crumble:

  • 60g/2,1oz flour
  • 50g/1,8oz sugar
  • 40g/1,4oz almond powder
  • 30g/1,1oz cashew butter
  • 20g/0,7oz butter
  • 1 pinch of slat

Directions:

Crumble. Preheat the oven at 180°/350°F. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar almond powder, cashew butter, butter and salt. Rub with your fingertips. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Sprinkle the crumble on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and stir from time to time until golden. Reserve.

Stewed fruits. Peel the rhubarb. Cut in small pieces.  In a bowl, crush the strawberries. Place rhubarb and mashed strawberries in a pan. Add the sugar. Cook for 15-20 minutes at medium heat. Divide the stewed fruits in 4 jars. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Assemble. Sprinkle crumble on top of the stewed fruits before serving.