Get your lycra ready ladies and gents it’s time…… no it’s not an ABBA reunion tour it’s time for the Tour de France. Three weeks of wall to wall cycling on TV. I love watching ‘Le Tour’, not so much for the actual cycling, but because I get to feast on the beautiful French countryside: the sunflower fields, the majestic mountains and the, seemingly endless, grand chateaux that are dotted everywhere (and as cyclists go I find Mark Cavendish a tasty little treat himself). I also appreciate the coverage of the race here in Australia because they always include a segment on the food and wine of each region that the race passes through.
Although a pastry food blog is not the most likely place to find a discussion on bike racing the French, being the French, have managed to combine two of their great passions, cycling and patisserie, by creating the Paris-Brest gateau. The gateau was created in 1891 to celebrate the 1200km cycle race that went from Paris to Brest and then back to Paris! The event is no longer a professional race, but is still held every four years for amateurs to test their endurance. I am hoping at the end they get to reward themselves with this scrumptious dessert – they deserve it.
So, I think July is the perfect time for me to knock off another item from my Paris Postcard Challenge with the Paris Brest gateau. This gateau is a beautiful choux pastry filled with a custardy filling, topped with flaked almonds and dusted with icing sugar. For my twist on this French classic, I have made a diplomat cream flavoured with vanilla bean and pear liqueur. The pear flavour is subtle, but oh so delicious.
- One quantity of diplomat cream (with 30ml pear liqueur added)
- One quantity of choux pastry
- Flaked Almonds
- Icing sugar to dust.
Make the crème patissiere for the diplomat cream, place in the fridge to cool completely while you make the choux pastry.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Make choux pastry. Pipe round circles on a tray lined with baking paper. Allow room for the pastry to expand, the finished product should have a hole in the centre, if you make the circle too small the hole will disappear. I use a n0.9 star nozzle.
Sprinkle almond flakes on top of the pastries.
Bake pastries for 10-15min or until they have risen and have started to colour.
Turn down the oven to 170°C and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. You need to watch the pastries carefully as the almonds will burn if you leave them too long. I turn my trays at the 10 minute mark to make sure they cook evenly. Once pastries are cooked remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Take the crème patissiere out of the fridge and use it to make the diplomat cream. Remember to add the pear liqueur. Place in the fridge for approx. 30 minutes.
Cut the pastries in half and use a teaspoon to scoop out any soft dough that may be inside. You only need to have the shell of the pastry.
Fill a piping bag with diplomat cream and use a n0.9 star nozzle to pipe swirls in the bottom half of pastry shell. Place the pastry tops on to the cream and dust with icing sugar.
Now put on your lycra and cycle a long way because you will certainly eat more than one of these at a sitting!