This week's Short and Tweet challenge from Dan Leppard's book Short and Sweet focussed on choux pastry and I chose the option to make the Paris-Brest. As Dan explains in the recipe notes the pastry's name comes from a Paris to Brest bycycle race and the pastry is piped to suggest the wheel of a bycycle.
Dan fills his choux with a coffee pastry cream and garnishes the top with caramel and nuts. Although these are described by Dan as mini coffee Paris-Brest we are still talking a full dessert portion each here. The total recipe only makes six and I think I made mine a bit large so think penny farthing rather than tour de france.
Pastry and I are not the best of friends and I felt apprehensive throughout making these. Early in the process I was convinced my choux dough was far too stiff and it still seemed very stiff after beating in the 3 eggs. I think I piped the dough with too small a diameter piping bag end and made too big a 'wheel'.
Once they were in the oven there were some nervous minutes while I watched and waited for the dough to puff. It really never puffed as much as I had expected but if you pipe out mean thicknesses of pastry you cannot expect miracles.
I also felt I had too starchy a mixture for the pastry cream but have to confess to fiddling with this recipe as I wanted a mocha pastry cream, not just coffee.
The caramel behaved but I only made a little as I'm not so fond of crunchy sugar. For someone who claims to eat anything I have to accept that I can really be rather picky with how things are made.
The finished pastry did taste very good but I really don't think I would make them again unless I can rid myself of the fear of pastry; it just makes the process feel hard work rather than fun.