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Recipe: Paris-Brest

As seen at the Big Bake Festival at Markeaton Park, this little bit of French Pâtisserie is a ring of choux pastry filled with a praline cream and fresh berries. It's high calorific content comes from the fact that it was originally conceived to fuel the riders of the cycle race from Paris to Brest in France.

They are utterly delicious and really good fun to make, do try and use a star nozzle to pipe the choux rings as this will encourage them to puff up beautifully in the oven.

Thanks to all you lovely folk who came and watched last weekend. Spots are still available on my July pâtisserie course in Yorkshire (click here for details). As always I love hearing from you on twitter and instagram @cakesmyth x

Ingredients - makes 4 large Paris-Brest

For the choux pastry

110g strong white flour

60ml whole milk

pinch of salt

large pinch of sugar

55g unsalted butter, cubed

80ml water

3 medium eggs + 1 for eggwash

Handful flaked almonds

For the praline

150g caster sugar

2 tbsp water

75g blanched hazelnuts

For the filling

300ml double cream

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 tbsp icing sugar

150g raspberries


2 piping bags with large open star nozzles, baking trays, food processor


For the choux pastry

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 C / fan 200 C.

  2. Sift the flour onto a sheet of baking parchment. In a large saucepan, heat the milk, salt, sugar, water and butter until it's just coming to the boil.

  3. Remove quickly from the heat, add the flour in one go and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough clears the side of the pan. Cook on the heat for at least 5 minutes, constantly stirring and pressing the mix.

  4. Leave to cool slightly (we don't want scrambled eggs) then gradually beat in the whisked eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until the dough is smooth and glossy. It should be a thick paste that holds its shape.

  5. Transfer the mix to a large piping bag with a large open star nozzle (or you could just cut a 1 inch hole in the end of the bag) and pipe 4 large 10cm diameter rings onto a non-stick mat on a baking tray. Use a finger dipped in water to press down any little peaks so they don't burn in the oven.

  6. Lightly brush with egg wash then sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top

  7. Bake for 12 minutes then reduce the heat to 180/fan 160 C and bake for a further 10 minutes until risen and golden brown. Once baked, remove from the oven and cut in half horizontally before returning to the oven to dry out for 3 minutes. Leave to cool on a cooling rack

For the praline

  1. Make sure you have a large saucepan that is very clean to avoid the caramel crystallising. Heat the caster sugar and water in the saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar has melted to an amber caramel colour. Don't stir the mix but gently swirl it to melt evenly if required.

  2. Add the hazelnuts to the pan and quickly swirl to coat them in caramel before pouring the caramel onto a heatproof non-stick mat.

  3. Leave to cool completely before breaking into shards and blitzing to a fine crumb in a food processor. Store in an airtight container (humidity will soften the caramel) until ready to use.

For the filling

  1. Pour the cream into a large mixing bowl and add the vanilla bean paste and icing sugar. Using an electric whisk, whip until very soft peaks (if you go for stiff peaks they will thicken too much when coming out of the piping bag). Transfer to a piping bag with a large star nozzle.

  2. To assemble, sprinkle some of the praline crumb onto the bottom halves of the choux rings. Place 5 or 6 raspberries on the bottom ring and pipe generous peaks of cream in between them to plug the gaps. Sprinkle more praline on top before placing the top choux ring on. Serve immediately with a dusted flourish of icing sugar!