Friday, May 5, 2017

White Chocolate and Raspberry Paris-Brest - they're wheel-y wheel-y delicious!

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Who doesn’t, at some stage, have lonely egg yolks languishing in their fridge. There they sit, dreaming of a better life, (cue violins) until one day the fridge door opens... light floods in... and their crusted remains are consigned to the bin. Awwwwww...

"I coulda been a contender. I coulda been been somebody..." Eggy Malloy, On the Waterfront
The talented and lovely Jill Colonna, author of Mad About Macarons le book, and le blog (and now Teatime in Paris) threw down the gauntlet of the egg yolk challenge and I happily accepted an invitation to guest post on what was then the first anniversary of Alchemy, back in 2011. 
The egg yolk challenge was a great idea because we've all had a bowl of forlorn egg yolks sitting in the fridge at some point. Having been parted from their whites – who have gone on to star as Magnificent Macarons, Marvellous Meringues, or Superb Soufflés – the poor old yolk tends to be forgotten.
Egg yolks can achieve greatness too. After all, Botticelli painted The Birth of Venus using egg yolk-based paint. While Botticelli provided a feast for the eyes, here is something you can actually get your teeth into.  Gateau Paris-Brest is a delectable choux pastry, named after the famous Paris – Brest bicycle race. The shape represents a wheel. Here it is in miniature, my Summery version with raspberries and white chocolate pastry cream.

L'inspiration - a velo at Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert (which I always read as 'dessert'...)
For 10 – 12 gorgeous little pastries you will need…
Pastry Cream (crème pâtissière)
300mls fresh milk
50g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
15g plain flour
15g cornflour
4 egg yolks
50g good quality white chocolate, chopped

Heat the milk in a medium saucepan until just simmering.

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks together with the vanilla extract and sugar until thick and paler in colour. Add in the salt, plain flour and cornflour and whisk until incorporated.

Slowly add the simmering milk to the egg yolk mixture, whisking all the time (never add cold eggs to hot liquid unless you want scrambled eggs). Mix well and return the liquid to the saucepan. Continue to whisk over a low heat until the liquid has become a thick custard. This will take about 3 or 4 minutes. Make sure not to boil the custard or it will become grainy and may scramble. The custard is thick enough when it coats the back of a wooden spoon and a finger pulled though this coating leaves a clean trail.

Add in the white chocolate and stir until it has melted into the custard.
Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film, making sure the cling film makes contact with the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until ready to use. This can be prepared ahead and will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Egg yolks – in the right company – are capable of greatness too

Choux Pastries
150mls water
50g butter
70g strong white flour/plain flour
A pinch of fine salt
2 eggs beaten
25g flaked almonds

You will also need a punnet of fresh raspberries

when you are ready to bake the choux wheels.

Heat the water and butter together in a medium saucepan until the butter has melted and the liquid is simmering

Carefully tip the flour and salt into the liquid in one go. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together in a soft ball of paste and no dry flour remains. Spread the ball of paste over the bottom of the saucepan and leave to cool to room temperature.

When the paste has cooled, add in the beaten egg a little at a time, whisking well between additions. An electric whisk is best for this job. You want a smooth glossy soft paste that will hold its shape so check the mixture as you go along as you may not need to add all the egg.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (fan oven).  Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe circles of the mixture (approximately 8cm/3 inches in diameter) onto a lightly buttered baking tray, leaving 5cm/2 inches between circles. Scatter the tops of the circles with almond flakes and transfer to the oven. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until evenly golden brown. Remove from the oven and poke 2 horizontal slits in the side of each pastry to release some steam. Return to the oven for a further 2 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.

Assemble the little pastries just before serving: slice them in half horizontally. Beat the cooled pastry cream until smooth. For a really decadent touch, I sometimes stir a tablespoon of mandarin brandy into the pastry cream at this stage. Pipe onto the lower half of the pastry wheel and add fresh raspberries. Replace the top and dust with icing sugar.

These little pastries are perfect snack as you cycle from Paris to Brest, or perhaps keep a few beside your easel for energy as you paint a Renaissance masterpiece – using egg-yolk-based paint of course!

We taste wheel-y wheel-y delicious!

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  1. Hester, thank you so much for such a fabulous guest post. Your Paris-Brest is not only as light as a feather perfection, but the original pastry shop creators need to learn a thing or two from your magic in the kitchen!
    Thanks also for such wonderful comments. It's a great pleasure to know you, my friend! Jill xo

  2. Yum.. what a great post. The photos look so good - those wonderful raspberries peeping out the sides. I commented over there !

  3. Yes! Your guest post on Jill's site! The pictures look gorgeious! I can't wait to read it. I'll be commenting over there.

  4. @ Jill - It was an absolute pleasure to do this post, Jill. As you know, I'm a huge fan of Mad About Macarons and it has been wonderful to get to know you better. Hx

  5. Just when i thought dieting couldn't get any harder I log on to this blog - I guess the only way to deal with temptation is to yield to it!


  6. I shouldn't read food blogs at break time, now I really really want one of these with my cuppa...Amazing stuff!

  7. Oh, my, Hester, what a fabulous choice for Jill's blog. I've never made a Paris-Brest...but your photos have convinced me it's a MUST. Just gorgeous!

  8. It is as interesting to read the blogs as it is to cook up the delicious treats. I intend to buy the ingredients today and place them in an orderly fashion on the worktop and see if the cooking elf(aka My husband) will get the hint! Thanks to both Jill and Hester for the great writing and I will let you know how the elf gets on with the White Chocolate and Raspberry Paris-Brest.

  9. I will feel no guilt pangs when eating this luscious creation for it is full of natural, good ingredients. As the french say-
    Bien manger; bien vivre.

  10. That looks beautiful and so mouthwatering! I'll have to stop by later to read your guest post. I'm sure it will be lovely just like all of your posts on this blog. Have a great weekend!

  11. I have just read this on Jill's site... what an amazing dessert Hester! I LOVE it, especially the white chocolate custard filling!!! Drooooool!!!

  12. I love it when two of my favorite bloggers united to produce a SUPER POST!! Woo hoo, heading over there now :) Buzzed!

  13. Great to get new suggestion for egg yolks. Cheers.

    Oh and you're spreading you across the net, great!

  14. Going over now, looks delicious but I'll be back !

  15. Mmmm, love the blog and excited to follow!

  16. Beautiful photo's and what a heavenly dessert! Your guest post was great, I commented over there just a minute ago. Happy blogaversary!

  17. Hester who needs Paris if they can bake like you. Your Paris-Brest looks amazing! Congratulations on your one year anniversary. May we enjoy your blog for many more years to come!

  18. Gorgeous guest post, Hester! Those pastries look so amazing, and I think I am going to be making these soon... Thank you for sharing! :) I love your blog and I am following... :)

  19. These look mouthwateringly good! The raspberries are the perfect fruit to go into this. And I really love the egg photo!

  20. Hester! Just seen you've made Top9 on Foodbuzz with your Paris-Brest! Bravo - this is fantastic!

  21. This was a fantastic guest post and your Paris-Brest is stunning :)

  22. Hester! I love to read what you're up to - you have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself. These pictures are amazing. I'll pop on over and read your guest post. I'm sure I'll love it!

  23. My mouth is watering just looking at the photo! I'll be trying out this recipe for sure!

  24. I'm definitely making these. They sound easy to do, but look so wow!

  25. Aww great memories and this is such a wonderful dessert. I make too much ice cream to worry about egg yolks - that should tell me something. :)

  26. Beautifully done, I can almost taste them they look so good.


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