This dessert was supposedly named from a pastry shop along the route of the bicycle race between Paris and Brest. It is a ring of pate a choux pastry filled with pastry cream. See a similar dessert with a totally different look in the recipe for Croquembouche (Great Chefs, Great Cities #75).
- Pate a Choux
- Water - 2 cups
- Butter - 1 cup
- Pinch of salt
- Flour - 1-1/2 cups
- Eggs - 6 - 8, depending on their size
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tbs
- Almonds - 1/2 cup, slivered
- Pastry Cream
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Whole Eggs - 2
- Egg Yolks - 2
- Flour - 1/4 cup
- Milk - 1-1/2 cups
- Hazelnut paste - 1/4 cup (optional; substitute 1 tbs vanilla or 1 tsp almond flavoring)
- Heavy Cream - 1 cup
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
To make the pate a choux: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.In a large pot, bring the water to a boil and add the butter, cooking until melted. Add the flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Melt the butter in a small, heavy pan over low heat. Put the mixture in a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe a circle on the prepared baking sheet. Make another circle just inside the first, and a third on top of the first two. Paint with butter and top with almonds. Bake 30 minutes, until puffed and golden. It should sound hollow when tapped lightly. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.
To make the pastry cream: Scald the milk in a large deep pan. In a deep bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs until thick and lemon yellow. Add the flour and beat until smooth. Pour this mixture into the scalded milk and beat until smooth while heating over medium heat just to the boiling point. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl set in a deeper bowl of ice to cool the mixture quickly. Stir in the hazelnut paste or flavoring. In a deep bowl, beat the heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Fold together the whipped cream and cooled custard.
To assemble: Split the pastry in half horizontally with a sharp knife. Pull out some of the soft dough inside to create a smoother interior. Place the pastry cream in a large pastry bag fitted with a large fluted tip and pipe into the bottom of the shell. Place the top of the shell on the pastry cream and dust with confectioner’s sugar.