What do you get when you level up on choux puff pastry?
We had a eureka moment when the three of us taste-tested this Paris Brest recipe – perfect pastry with crunch, filled with a velvety smooth hazelnut mousseline made with creme patissiere, hazelnut paste, icing sugar and a whipped butter (which is so light!)
Sorry whipped cream, you are now considered too ordinary.
This mousselline is piped into the open rings, and its consistency meant it has a full body for the lid to sit on top of. Yet, it’s not dense or oily, just light and the best mouth feel. I’m officially obsessed and definitely going to make more puffs just so that I can fill them with this deliciously thick mousselline.
- 120g butter, unsalted, cubed
- 120ml water
- 125ml full fat milk
- 3g (1/2 tsp) vanilla paste
- a pinch of salt
- 12g caster sugar
- 160g plain flour
- 300g eggs (5 size 7 eggs) well beaten (also prepare an extra beaten egg ready in a separate bowl, just in case.)
- Swedish sugar granules, optional
Crème Pâtissière hazelnut mousse
- 300ml milk
- 60g caster sugar
- 60g egg yolks (about 2 x size 7 eggs)
- 18g cornflour
- 180g butter, unsalted, softened
- 200g Hazelnut paste
- 60g icing sugar
- Combine milk and half of the caster sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a slow boil.
- In a large bowl, beat together the remaining sugar, egg yolks and cornflour until mixture is pale and thick.
- Whisking continuously at a low speed, pour half of the warm milk mixture slowly into the egg mixture. This “tempers” the egg and prevents scrambling.
- Return the remaining milk and saucepan to the heat and quickly pour in the tempered egg yolk mixture to the milk, all the while beating vigorously. At this stage the mixture is still in a liquid state.
- Using a wooden spoon or spatula, beat over heat until it comes to a boil – it would change in consistency and thicken quite abruptly.
- Remove the thickened creme from heat, pour into a box or bowl and cover with cling film, with the film touching the surface of the creme, to prevent a skin from forming.
- Cool completely, 4 hours in the fridge or overnight before using.
- Now we make the silky mousseline.
- Let butter soften by letting it sit at room temperature for a while. Cut into cubes and whisk in the stand mixer bowl at medium speed for 4 minutes. Once it’s pale and fluffy looking, stop mixer and scrape the butter into a small bowl. Set aside.
- Return cold creme patissiere into a stand mixer bowl. Beat with a mixer to bring it back to a smooth consistency. Add hazelnut paste and icing sugar; whisk until smooth.
- Add whipped butter to the hazelnut creme mixture and whisk to combine for 2 minutes. Once it’s thickened, it is ready to be used as filling.
Making the choux pastry
- Preheat a convection oven to 200 °C. Place butter, water, milk, vanilla paste, salt and sugar into a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, with the butter melted completely. Take pan off the heat, and immediately add flour to the butter mixture, and mix vigorously with a spatula or wooden spoon. Mix till there are no lumps of flour visible. Return dough to pan.
- Return to a low heat and cook for another minute to dry the dough slightly. The dough should pull away from the sides of the pan. Stop when it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with a beater attachment (or a bowl if using a hand held mixer).
Adding the eggs
- Beat the dough (while still hot) and add in the eggs slowly. It is important to gradually pour the eggs into the mixture, and allow it to be incorporated before adding more.
- After you’ve added all of the eggs (300g) stop the mixer and check the consistency. At this point, the batter may still be too stiff. Check batter hanging off the beater attachment – does it stretch down like a V shape before breaking off, while counting to 5? If it doesn’t, slowly add a quarter of the 6th egg (the just-in-case egg), which should be just enough to bring it to the right stretchy texture. If not, then add a bit more. The dough should have a nice sheen, thick and drops like a V shape within 5 seconds when lifted up.
- Draw large 6-8cm diameter circles on baking paper and flip them over. Fill batter to three quarters of a piping bag with a large star tip fitted. Pipe rings of batter onto the baking paper. I started with one ring, then piped a smaller ring inside the first one, touching, then another ring over the two, forming a triangle if you looked at it cross-sectionaly. There should be enough to form 16 of these, on several baking trays. For fun we also piped it into choux buns and éclairs.
- Sprinkle over Swedish sugar granules.
- Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes. It should be all puffed and golden. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door during baking, it will prevent it from fully rising.
- Turn temperature down to 170°C and remove trays from the oven. Quickly poke the rings on its side a few times to release steam.
- Return trays to the oven and bake a further 10 minutes to fully dry them out.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.
- When completely cool, slice through horizontally with a serrated knife and fill with hazelnut mousseline. Top with choux lid and serve immediately.
- Best enjoyed the same day of making.