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)
40g/1,4oz butter at temperature
50g/1,8oz brown sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
60g/2,1oz of butter
Praline mousseline cream
1/4l/8,3fl.oz whole milk
1/2 vanilla pod
2 egg yolks
10g/0,35oz corn flour
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.
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.
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):
100g/3,4oz hazelnut powder
100g/3,4oz chocolate (dark or milk – I use the dark)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
A pinch of salt
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.
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.
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.