The recipe for Cook the Book Fridays from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen this week is a variation on a classic – Paris-Brest. That classic dessert is a large ring of choux-pastry, filled with crème pâtissière, created in 1891 to commemorate the Paris–Brest bicycle race. It’s supposed to represent a bicycle wheel and apparently became popular with riders on the race because of its energy-giving high calorific value. We’ve made the original before, for French Fridays with Dorie (and I had a few issues with piping the large ring) and I’ve actually tasted the version David refers to in his recipe, at Jacques Genin (you can see it here).
David’s version here is not piped in a ring, rather, he’s chosen to make the classic éclair shape with the choux pastry and he’s also messed with the classic by adding a chocolate glaze on top SO, as he acknowledges, he can’t possibly call it a Paris-Brest (the French are particular about respecting tradition when it comes to classics!). Instead, he’s renamed his version Paris-Paris, with the shape being a nod to the straight line which is the route between Jacques Genin’s store and his apartment (lucky him!)
Making this dessert was not tricky at all (I love making choux pastry), though all of the components might make it feel a little fussy – it all comes down to advance planning. You make the éclairs in advance. The crème pâtissière is also made in advance and once it’s been in the fridge and is completely cool, you fold some hazelnut praline (caramelized hazelnuts, cooled and blitzed to a powder – I used my mini hand blender set) through it to create the most decadent-tasting crème ever (addictive – danger!). For the glaze I used my own chocolate glaze recipe, just because…
All the components were transported to a dinner party last weekend in the middle of the massive snow and ice storm. I mean, hey, we didn’t bike from Paris to Brest but it did feel like we’d earned a highly caloric dessert! I assembled at the start of the dinner and allowed the éclairs to sit in the fridge whilst we ate the rest of the meal and brought them out just before we were ready to eat them.
‘Nuff said. And Ill be making that hazelnut praline crème again, this is a certainty. Whether it makes it into an éclair is another matter….
Get the recipe for David Lebovitz’s Paris Paris on p 285 of My Paris Kitchen.
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Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “My Paris Kitchen” for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions 100% my own.
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