have a confession to make. Embarrassingly, I couldn’t ride a bicycle until just a few years ago, believe it or not! I couldn’t hold the balance, and I was scared of falling. Who likes to fall on the tarmac? Not me! At the same time, my nephew (age 4) learned the skill in one afternoon and became the ruler of the nearby parking lot! Although I can ride the bike now, there is another type of wheels that I prefer much more – the sweet, cream-filled ones!
Paris-Brest is a ring made of choux pastry, usually filled with crème mousseline – which is a pastry cream enriched with butter. It was designed in 1910 by a pastry chef Louis Durand, who worked at pastry shop Maisons-Laffitte situated near Paris in 1910 at request of Pierre Giffard, to commemorate the Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race he had initiated in 1891. Shape of the pastry symbolizes the bicycle wheel. Although the original Paris-Brest recipe calls for basic creme patissiere, throughout more than 100 years, creme mousseline became more popular choice because of its creamier consistency.
My first sweet encounter with this elegant pastry was while I was studying at the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. There were rumors in my school about a specific Paris-Brest that was allegedly THE best in Paris – “You must visit “, they said! So I waited impatiently for the first Sunday, and after a light breakfast my friend and I headed for the 3rd arrondissement with great expectations. Pastry chef Jacques Genin is huge in pastry world – his exquisite assemble-upon-order millefeuille, delightful caramels, and awesome pates des fruits are treats not to be missed! Of course I wanted to try them all; however, not everything goes according to plan! They didn’t have millefeuille at the moment, but the Paris-Brest was ready, and I can tell you without doubt – the rumors were correct! The crispy choux topped with crunchy chopped hazelnuts, and filled with loads of luscious hazelnut mousseline was to die for! Mmmmhm, divine! Next time I’m in Paris, 133 Rue de Turenne will be my inevitable ‘sweet’ stop, along with many others…
Well, what do you think about this post?
I read and really appreciate all the comments, even though I do not always have the time to respond to each one. So – keep me in the loop and try to create some sweetness every day because – Sweetness is happiness!!