Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Made This!

OK, it looks like a train wreck, but I'm happy when I make anything. And it tastes great, I gotta say.

This is known as a Paris-Brest Cake. We were watching an old episode of one of Jacques Pepin's cooking shows last weekend when he made this cake, which is supposedly shaped like a bicycle wheel to commemorate a historic annual bike race between Paris and Brest, France. It's made of a pastry known as Pate Choux, and filled with pastry cream and whipped cream.

It's basically a huge, round eclair, without the chocolate.

When Jacques made it, I said, "Wow, we should do that!" So we picked up the ingredients and with Dave's guidance, I made the Pate Choux and shaped the cake. (Technique: After filling a pastry tube with dough, and using the circular impression made by a pot lid as a guide, the cook squirts the dough in layered rings.) We baked it and Dave made the pastry cream and whipped cream (ok, so I didn't do all the work). We cut the top off the cake and layered the cream inside with roasted hazelnuts, and put the top back on. Voila!

The recipe was hilarious: a dozen eggs, two sticks of butter. Any doctor would blanch.*

But that hasn't stopped me from eating several pieces over the past few days. Is it any wonder I ran five miles yesterday, and went to the gym again today?!

Our only mistake was pulling the pastry out of the oven a tad too early. This caused the cake to fall a bit, making it harder to cut and layer with filling (and making it far less photogenic). But the inside was cooked enough so that the pastry is formed, and I was pleased with the results!

*The linked recipe is not the one we followed, which was from Dave's culinary school books. This one is significantly lighter, or maybe just smaller.


  1. OMG that sounds so delicious!! Yum!!

  2. wow and yumm ... i love that it's huge!

    i can definitely appreciate your feelings about the move. for me it ended up being very easy to drive away from what was my home for nearly 30 years. it just felt so right. i hope that it's an easy transition for you too. you do have a nice calmness about you ... xoxo.

  3. I'm quite impressed because I don't do desserts well at all. Maybe you'll decide to be the chef in the family! Your masterpiece looks delicious. I'll bet it smelled great while in the oven.

  4. i am most impressed....sounds delish, I'm putting my emma on this (she's got the patience and skill to tackle pastries!)

  5. I got chest pains just looking at the pic. Man does that look tasty.