When Tricia and I traveled to the Loire Valley last summer,
one of the chateaux that we visited was the Château de Cheverny.
After much sightseeing and photo taking, we stopped
in the little village for our usual café crème.
Across from the cafe was a small pâtisserie, so we decided to
treat ourselves to some goodies. One of the pastries on display
was the Paris-Brest. At that time I had no idea why it was named
that, but the fact that my father came from Brest was enough for me
to buy one. We brought our treats back to the hotel to enjoy
later in the day and it was so delicious.
|The actual "Cheverny" Paris-Brest, shot in the hotel room before enjoying~|
For this week's recipe, I was absolutely positive that making
the Paris-Brest at home would be a disaster. I remember that
when we made the eclairs in 2011 as part of this cooking group,
Tricia and I could not find the right sized pastry tips and ended
up with skinny little eclairs. Knowing that this recipe was
coming up, I researched and found the larger tips at Etsy.com.
A package of four tips in various designs, all 3/4 in size
plus ten disposable bags. Perfect.
|So far, so good......|
Preparing this recipe in stages is the way to go.
My biggest problem was making perfect rings.
I don't think I made them wide enough so
they did not rise as expected.
When the shell was baked it looked pretty good, but since
it was fairly flat I had difficulty cutting it. After I filled
it with the cream I sort of patched the top on.
It looked ok and since Hubby thought it was
very pretty, I considered it to be a winner.
Not perfect, but it sure tasted wonderful.
This turned out to be a very busy week at work, with a project
that kept me busy over the entire weekend (sorry for lack of blog
post commenting) and through the week. Paris-Brest was NOT a
recipe I wanted to be churning out on Thursday night but there I was.
Not only did I start late, but had to run to the store for corn starch
after work. Don't cry for me though, I also get lots of help-especially
in the form of a certain Dorista who delivered my own little
set of pastry bags and tips to ensure I had a fighting chance.
|Special Delivery à la Nana|
Even with the late start, I still made the components one at a time
over the course of the evening. This actually consisted of 3 separate
recipes- the dough, the filling, and then the actual pastry "assembly"
and baking. The recipe(s) were straight forward but overall I need to
hone my pastry piping skills. (that, Nana could not deliver in the
cute little baggie). So much for the "baker's treat" Dorie referred to as
being made out of the extra dough- I actually ran out before
finishing the third circle and got a bit creative.
For some reason the pastry simply did not rise as I would have hoped. The coloring was lovely, the almonds looked great on top and thankfully did not get over-browned.
Cutting the very flat pastry was a bit of a challenge but with all
those yummy ingredients and lovely filling, not to mention
the forgiving coating of confectioner's sugar on top, my husband
couldn't wait to give this a try. And it did not disappoint.
It was delicious and the vanilla creme filling with the
sugar coated almond bits mixed in was out of this world. We both
gave it two thumbs up and I will definitely work to perfect my skills
on this one because it really was an impressive looking as well
as delicious recipe.
This was a fun adventure, even on a busy deadline, but I have
to admit that it is also the memories for me that make many
of these recipes so special. Cheverny, my Grandfather, patisseries,
travel and of course- French Fridays with Dorie.
|Amazing kitchen gardens at Cheverny.|
|Pastry was not the only treat that made it back to the hotel...|
The memories of our trip to the Loire Valley and Cheverny were a
welcome distraction from cold weather and too much work :)
Happy French Friday ~