This month’s challenge was a French pastry. At first I thought “oh, great” – French pastry is incredibly time-consuming, and if you cut corners in any way, everything falls apart. Just like your typical Parisian when you speak broken French to them: very unforgiving. But this is supposed to be a challenge, right?
It turned out to be a lot of fun to make. I’ve never made a choux pastry dessert before, and as it turns out, with the exception of the fact that my pastry shells deflated a bit after taking them out of the oven (I probably should have let them bake a good five minutes longer), they came out great. The mousseline cream, based on a hazelnut and almond praliné, was really delicious. And, dusted with some powdered sugar and accompanied with Vietnamese coffee ice cream, it got the “oohs” and “ahhhs” that made it all worth it.
The November Daring Baker’s challenge took us for a ride! Luisa from Rise of the Sourdough Preacher challenged us to make Paris-Brest, a beautiful pastry celebrating the Paris-Brest bicycle race.
For the recipe, I ended up using Entertaining with Beth’s, but using Luisa’s hazelnut and almond praliné instead of the Nutella that Beth used.
UPDATE: The underbaked, collapsed pastry shells were really bugging me a day later. So since we were going to a friend’s post-Thanksgiving brunch, I decided to redo the recipe, allowing the pastry shells to bake quite a bit longer. I made a few other changes, too, but was overall very pleased with the outcome.
Pics and details after the jump.
- deflated shells (underbaked)
- sliced almonds
- hazelnut and almond praliné-based pastry cream
- shells baked much longer (15 mins at 400F; 40 mins at 350F + 10 mins in a cooling, but still very warm, oven)
- forgot to put the sliced almonds on top
- added a third layer of choux for a taller pastry
- made a pastry cream using almond pastry filling and 1/2 tsp of almond extract instead of the homemade hazelnut and almond praliné