Friday, January 31, 2014


Per Nana~
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 
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. 

Per Tricia~
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. 
Filled ~
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 ~


  1. How cool that dad is from Brest. Nana you sound like me with the shaping extra… but in the end it doesn't matter… it tastes so good.

  2. Oh, what a nice story to go along with the Paris-Brest (aside from the race, of course!). Both of these lovely rings look delicious, ladies!

  3. I think both of you did a fantastic job! I would gladly tuck in to both of them.

  4. What a fabulous post! I love it when you can make something that evokes memories. And, I loved that you shared your trip with us, too!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. You both did a great job and I love how Nana always comes through with the goods to help you out Tricia :) You guys are a wonderful team!

  6. Okay, I definitely need a Nana :-)

    They both look wonderful - I heavily relied on the powdered sugar to hide my piping skills (or lack thereof).

  7. Nana, thank you for sharing your lovely Paris-Brest and travel stories!

    Tricia, as I was reading your post, I was waiting for you to say, "I wasn't able to make mine!". Well, BRAVO to you for pulling this off after a long work day. Then I thought what a treat to have a cream puff at the end of the day.

    Thank you ladies! Always my favorite read of the week!!!

  8. Your travel photos are amazing!!! And this definitely was an adventure!!! Cream puffs are easy, but this was much more of a challenge :)

  9. I always look forward to reading your posts, and this one is terrific! Beautiful photos - both of your desserts and your trip. Just lovely! So happy you were pleased with your pastries. Just delicious!!

  10. Both turned out great! And it's so nice you actually got to have this pastry in France! :)

  11. Wasn't confectioners' sugar invented to pretty up imperfect skills or gild perfect ones? Both of your pastries look perfect from this side of the camera. I also enjoyed your travel reminiscences. And the team work! Have a great weekend!

  12. I thought both of your Paris Brest’s came out lovely…so glad they were delicious, too! Kudos Tricia for getting this one done after working all day! And Nana…I love that you found the tips on-line and delivered them to Tricia…I could have used you this week!! Beautiful photos of your trip to France. Have a great weekend, ladies!

  13. You gals get the blue ribbon for team effort. There is something special about a team effort. And, Tricia, the energy you have. I cannot imagine beginning a Paris-Brest after a long work week. And, both of you produced gorgeous desserts as well as bringing up wonderful memories. As you probably know, I decided to wait and make this dessert when I return to Aspen in the spring. I have no one to share it with here. But I am so inspired by everyone's efforts and have read all the suggestions and tips that I am going to make it next week. Kill me now but here I go. I wish someone would put their phone on speed dial next week. Very impressed you two.

  14. Somehow, in all my years as a pasty connoisseur, I had never come across this one before. I'll have to keep an eye out for it next time I'm in France and see what the real thing tastes like. Actually, I'm in France now, but in the corner known for all things cheese, not for pastries.

    Gorgoeus efforts this week from both of you. I hope that they lived up to your memories.

  15. Both are so pretty! I completely missed the point that the filling went inside the pastry. Love all the photos of your trip to France, and that you had this little delicacy in Brest.

  16. This was the first time I heard of this pastry but it sure won't be the last I loved it even though it made my life hell for two days while trying to get it right! Both look so good and I love the bowl full of almonds in the middle!!!

  17. Wow, you both made beautiful looking desserts! I can't wait to try this one.

  18. I loved seeing your vacation photos! I think I had the same problem that you both did. My rings weren't wide enough and my pastry didn't rise as high as it should have, making it very challenging to cut. I agree, this would be a good one to practice. What a gorgeous, impressive dessert.

  19. Nana: your Paris-Brests look wonderful with all that lovely vanilla pastry cream and the almonds on top - you are so organized - I just used the largest piping tip that I owned and I did not even bother with checking wether it was the right size.Your French pastry came out beautiful!
    Tricia: respect that you managed to bake this stunning dessert despite your more than busy work week! It looks fabulous and I am glad that you enjoyed this recipe - I also ran out of dough by the time I had my third ring piped on top of the two baker´s treat either!
    P.S.: I also wanted to thank you for the absolutely wonderful "Get-Well Card" that you sent to me. My husband brought it to the hospital and read it to me - hugs for your kindness! You really made me feel wonderful!!!