The Paris Brest Cake is one of those “flashy” desserts that don’t require as much effort as you think. It’s a simple choux pastry filled with chocolate and whipped cream. Like a giant cream puff….Swoon…
And I deserved it!
You see, my birthday came and went in a flurry of everyday family chaos… however….. when you are ‘this many fingers’ old, sometimes it’s best not to shine too strong a light on these things. Now, I may not want a party and candles (seriously, we’d need a permit from the fire department), but I absolutely must have a birthday cake.
Part of the problem with being the family baker is that no one else wants to try and bake me a cake….sigh….
I turned to Jacques Pepin. (He and I go way back.) I spent many a Saturday morning watching him on PBS and taking notes. With his comforting voice, and his easy way of teaching, I learned a lot about cooking from him. Who better to bake my cake?
OK, slight hitch… the man lives a few thousand miles from here… (and he probably wouldn’t be baking a cake for me if he lived next door)… so I had to make my own. I did use his recipe though.
The Chocolate Paris Brest Cake is a choux pastry ring filled with chocolate pastry cream and rum flavored whipped cream. MMMmmm. Now, the number of steps and ingredients may look daunting, but fear not! Follow the steps, I’ve included photos to make it simple, and you can do this (heck, I did it).
The recipe has 3 parts… the Choux Pastry Ring, the Chocolate Pastry Cream, and the Rum Flavored Whipped Cream. It’s like a big, circular cream puff filled with chocolate, and everyone gets to share it with you…. unless, of course… you decide you don’t want to share (find a safe spot, and eat that cake yourself).
You mix the batter for Choux pastry on the stove top. I used Jacques Pepin’s food processor assist… but you can actually work it with a whisk and some serious elbow grease. (Think of it as the workout penance before the cake). The dough is piped into a ring (like a bicycle wheel), then sprinkled with almonds before baking.
The Chocolate Pastry Cream is made on the stove top too…. it’s a dark, rich, not-too-sweet chocolate cream. (Now, if you are overwhelmed at the thought of making the chocolate pastry cream, you could probably use your favorite chocolate pudding.)
Finally, the rum-scented whipped cream. A little sugar and a little rum go into the cream… and it’s whipped up to a fluffy yumminess, then piped over the chocolate.
Chocolate Paris Brest Cake
Step By Step Photos… You CAN do This!
Draw A Circle on Parchment about 8 inches in diameter… then flip the parchment over
Whisk the Eggs and Set a Tablespoon of it into another Bowl
Bring the Milk, Sugar and Butter to a Boil over Medium Heat
Dump in the Flour all at Once, and Stir to combine
It Will Pull Away From the Pan and Look a Bit Lumpy
Put into the Food Processor, Let it cool a few minutes
Process the Eggs and the Lumpy Dough (Alternatively, whisk the heck out of it.)
Batter is Done When It Looks Like This-Sort of Smooth and Sticky
Fold Over the Top Edge of the Piping Bag-Fill the Piping Bag with Batter
Gather the Top of the Bag and Give it a Twist to Make Sure there’s no air in the bag
Pipe Your First Circle Following the Line, then Pipe the Second Circle inside the First… START IN A DIFFERENT SPOT
Pipe a Third Circle Over the Top of the Other Two
Brush the Egg Wash Over the Top of the Circles
Use a Fork to Make a Cross Hatch Pattern On the Dough Round
Sprinkle with Almonds
Bake 20 minutes at 375… then 35 minutes at 350
Let Rest in the Oven for 30 minutes… cool on the sheet
Cut the Top of the Round Off
You want to go down about a 1/2 inch
So now you have a top bit, and a bottom bit
Use Your Fingers to Pull out the Excess Dough
You Want to Leave the Shell, but you don’t have to go nuts some cake is ok
Spoon the Chocolate Filling Into the Bottom Part
Smooth it out a bit
Pipe on the Rum Flavored Whipped Cream
Go Side to Side… Cover the Chocolate
Cut the Top Round into 8 to 12 Pieces
However many pieces you want… that’s what you cut…. so, you could just cut it in 2 if you want.
Set the Pieces Onto the Whipped Cream (Keep them in Order)
Use a Strainer or Sieve to Dust with Powdered Sugar
To Cut a Piece, Slice between the Cut Bits on top, and through the Pastry on the Bottom with a Serrated Knife
Ateco Pastry Decorating Tip, Set of 3BRAUN FP3020 12-Cup Food Processor Ultra Quiet Powerful European made With German Engineering includes 9 Attachment plus Bonus Mini Processing BowlKirkland Signature Non Stick Parchment Paper, 205 sqft