Here in Minneapolis we have several lakes right in the city, along with miles and miles of gorgeous bike trails. Seeing everyone out and about had my wheels turning about making one of my all-time favorites — a raspberry Paris Brest. It’s a wheel-shaped dessert based on a French bicycle race between the cities of Paris and Brest, but you don’t have to be French or know how to ride a bike to enjoy this special treat!
For this episode of Zoë Bakes on Magnolia Network, I visit one of the kindest and most talented pastry chefs in the Twin Cities, Marc Heu, at his eponymous bakery.
Marc and his wife, Gaosong, gave me a tour and showed me some of the tips and tricks Marc uses to create his delicate and delicious pate a choux pastry, including a gorgeous, rose topped Paris-Brest. He’s a true artist and I was absolutely inspired.
- Pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch large round tip
- pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (size #9)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (40 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp milk
- Pinch kosher salt
Pâte à choux
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
- 4-5 large eggs at room temperature
- Egg wash 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup (226 grams) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 pinches kosher salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- Rose water to taste
- 1/2 cup raspberry jam
- 1 pint fresh raspberries to tuck inside
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting the top
- Organic unsprayed rose petals for decorating
- In a small bowl, combine the butter, sugar, flour, milk, and salt. Mix with a rubber spatula to form a smooth dough. Roll the dough out between a silicone mat and plastic wrap until it is 1/16 of an inch thick. Place in the freezer while you make the pâte à choux dough.
Pâte à choux
- Preheat the oven to 375°F on the convection setting. If you do not have convection, preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and then trace a 6-inch circle on each piece of parchment (a 6-inch cake pan works well as a template).
- Bring the milk, water, butter, salt, and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Dump the flour in all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon over low heat. The dough will come together as a smooth ball.
- Remove dough from the pot and place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until the dough comes together as a smooth paste. Depending on how much steam evaporated from your dough on the stovetop, you’ll need 4 to 5 eggs. You'll know how many you will need by the dough's texture — you want it to be thick enough to hold its shape, but thin enough to pipe easily.
- Next, fill a piping bag fitted with a large 1/2-inch round decorating tip with the choux paste. Pipe the choux paste just inside the traced line on the parchment. Pipe a second circle, inside the line you just piped. The two lines should be touching. Pipe a third line of choux paste on top of the seam created by the first two lines and then set aside. Repeat on the remaining baking sheet.
- Remove the craquelin from the freezer and cut it into 2 1/2-inch circles with a cookie cutter. Place the craquelin circles over your piped choux circles. Brush each with egg wash and sprinkle with almond slices.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F convection (or 375°F if using regular oven heat) without opening the oven door. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door slightly to allow the pastry to dry out; this should take about 1 hour.
- While your pastry is drying in the oven, make the cream filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together half of the sugar with the cornstarch and set aside. Split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds with a paring knife. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the vanilla bean seeds and the milk, remaining sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 pinches of salt. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the yolks and whole egg to the cornstarch-sugar mixture and whisk into a smooth paste.
- When your milk mixture comes to a simmer, slowly whisk a little of the hot milk into the egg mixture. This is called tempering the eggs, which you need to do to get them to the same temperature as the hot milk in the pan, so the eggs won't curdle.
- Once the egg mixture is warm to the touch, pour it back into the milk in the pan and bring it to a boil, whisking continuously for 2 to 3 minutes. When the pastry cream is done it will be smooth and glossy.
- Strain the pastry cream into a shallow container. Because the pastry cream will be thick you will need to press it through the strainer with a rubber spatula.
- Cover it with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Then place the container in an ice bath to quickly cool the eggs. Once it's chilled, add rose water, a few drops at a time, to taste. Mix until smooth.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Then add your remaining pinch of salt and the raspberry jam and whip until well incorporated.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold the pastry cream into the raspberry butter 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down the bowl with each addition.
- Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the baked and dried choux pastries in half horizontally, creating a top and bottom piece for each.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (size #9) with the raspberry cream filling. Pipe a thick layer of the filling into the bottom of the baked pastry rings. Add fresh raspberries over the filling and then pipe a second layer of the raspberry filling over them. Cover with the pastry tops and dust with confectioners' sugar. Decorate with more piped filling, raspberries, and rose petals as desired.
Check out my other raspberry paris brest recipe here.
Want to learn more about the guests on my show and receive exclusive recipes from them? Sign up for my Substack where I feature Q&As with the guests, exclusive recipes, and much more.