This is something that I made recently when I was in need of a portable dessert to take to a friend’s house for dinner.
It’s another recipe inspired by numerous trips to France when occasionally boxes of petite-fours would be bought as a treat. There would always be miniature Paris-Brest in the assortment, usually filled with sweet Chantilly cream.
Whilst doing some research for this recipe I learnt that Paris-Brest was originally created to celebrate the Paris to Brest cycle race. If there were more sports with associated patisserie I would probably be far more keen on exercise.
Blending cream cheese with the whipped cream makes it hold its shape a little better if you need to make them in advance. It also means that the lemon juice won’t curdle the cream.
You can fill these with whatever you like really, chocolate mousse, creme patissiere, strawberries, ice cream, coffee cream, boozy cream – go crazy…
75g plain flour
small handful of flaked almonds
50g cream cheese
200ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
small punnet raspberries
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and line a baking tray with parchment.
Using a large saucepan bring the water and butter to boiling point. Remove it from the heat, add the flour all at once and beat it in until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork. In two batches add them to the pan, mixing well to give you a smooth, shiny soft dough. Try to keep a little (a teaspoon-ish) of the egg back for glazing.
Spoon this into a piping bag with a large plain nozzle and pipe circles of about 4-5 inches on the tray. I pipe the outer circle, then another inside it and finally one on top of the two. I find that this gives the best shape once cooked. Be sure to space the circles apart to allow for them to expand. You can smooth off any spikey bits and adjust the shape a little with a finger dipped in water.
Brush with the reserved egg and sprinkle on the almonds.
Bake them for 30 minutes and then turn off the oven but leave the pastry in there for another 10 minutes to cool a little. After this take them out and immediately cut them in half horizontally and leave them to cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the filling beat the cream cheese a little to soften it before mixing in the lemon juice and icing sugar. Make sure all of the lemon juice is mixed in and then add the cream. Use an electric whisk to beat it all together until it’s really thick.
Pipe the cream onto both halves of the choux pastry, this will protect it from going soggy at the hands of any stray raspberry juice.
Fill with raspberries and then gently sandwich the two halves together.
Sprinkle with icing sugar for a final flourish.