A New Classic in Parisian Pastry {CtBF}

What do you get when you cross two classic French pâte à choux pastries?  The first classic is the round Paris-Brest, shaped to resemble a bicycle wheel (in honor of a bicycle race between Paris and Brest), and filled with praline-flavored pastry cream.  The second class is the éclair, an oblong pastry filled with pastry cream and topped with icing.  Well, according to David Lebovitz in his book My Paris Kitchen, his answer is the Paris-Paris, this week’s challenge for Cook the Book Fridays.  A Paris-Paris, invented by David, is an éclair filled with hazelnut praline-flavored cream and iced with a chocolate topping.  Rather than commemorating a bicycle race, this pastry represents the straight path between David’s home and his favorite pâtisserie.

We’ve had a stretch of rather simple projects over the past few months, so this is one of the more complicated recipes the group has recently tackled.  However, as with many recipes, when broken down into different steps and spread out to fill available pockets of time, it is manageable and not so intimidating.

First step was the hazelnut praline.  If you can get over any fear you have of molten sugar, it’s quite simple.  Melt the sugar and add coarsely chopped hazelnuts and a big pinch of salt.  Then spread it out to cool. I forgot to chop them, but that was fine.  The praline was delicious!  I couldn’t help from nibbling on it every time I noticed the container sitting on the counter waiting for the next step.

Next was the pastry cream.  I didn’t want to make the full recipe (10-12 pastries), but David mentioned that while the pâte à choux made a dozen éclairs, there was only enough filling for 10.  So, I made two-thirds of the pastry cream recipe and one third of the pâte à choux.  I always forget how easy it is to make the pastry cream.  It came together in just a few minutes.

The third component is the pâte à choux which is something I only make for these recipe challenges.  Every time I do, I wonder why I don’t make it more often. I’ll admit that desserts based on this pastry aren’t my favorites, but I have enjoyed savory versions such as gougères and goat cheese cream puffs.

When I’ve made pâte à choux before, whole milk was the liquid called for.  I was intrigued that this recipe used water.  The version wasn’t noticeably different than previous efforts, browned beautifully in the oven, and its ingredient list moves it up on the list of things I can make from what’s on hand (I seldom have milk).

To create the praline-flavored filling, first you pulse the hazelnut praline in the food processor to grind it up.  I ate a few last pieces before I ground up the rest.  If you remember I made two-thirds of the pastry cream.  I figured that I ate one-third of the praline so the proportions were unchanged.  Some of the pastry cream is combined with the ground candied nuts to make a paste before smooshing it into the remaining pastry cream.  Making the praline filling is fun!

One last component before putting it all together.  Cocoa powder and confectioners sugar are mixed with hot water to make a shiny glaze.

The last step is assembly.  Once the éclairs are cooled, cut them in half, but leave the top and bottom attached, fill it with the praline pastry cream, and ice the top with chocolate glaze.  They look rather impressive.  Put them in the fridge to chill.  You only have to wait an hour before digging in.

I made four Paris-Paris pastries and have some praline pastry cream to enjoy with a spoon.  I thought these were nice, though I plan to share the leftovers.  Guess who says he’s not interested in eating one.

My takeaways:  I doubt I’ll make this recipe again.  Not enough in-house interest.  However, I’ll definitely make the hazelnut praline again, perhaps to include in my annual holiday treat packages.  And, I’ll add some savory pastries on my “to-do” list so I can revisit the pâte à choux.

If you want to challenge yourself, you’ll find the recipe for Paris-Paris on page 285 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  To see the results of my Cook the Book Fridays friends, follow their links here.


Posted on 20 April 2018, in Baking, Cook The Book Fridays, my paris kitchen and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I LOVED this recipe and as you say, it’s really pretty simple when you break it down. I WILL make these again – I couldn’t stop eating the pastry cream!

  2. Betsy, your pastries look beautiful. I had fun with this challenge. I’m with you on using some components and not others. Happily reminded how much fun it is to make things that puff up! Definitely need to bake some gougeres. A very fun challenge. I think it filled the bill for our compadres who wanted more of a challenging recipe! It will be fun to read about others’ efforts!

  3. Those eclairs look great Betsy. I loved the praline pastry cream, so good. I also enjoyed picking on the hazelnut pralines, which was easy to prepare, and so tasty.

  4. Oh man. That hazelnut praline pastry cream was fab. u. lous. I love me some hazelnuts and that was by far my favorite thing in this whole rigmarole. :) I can’t believe there was no in-house interest, though I understand. And your post reminds me I should make some gougères to put in the freezer. I used to do that all the time (so impressive when people come over!) but have fallen out of the habit. Anyway, they look great, Betsy!!


    Impressive is the only definition I can use for you Cook the Book Friday colleagues. I’m over here in Éclair Country and yours look every bit as delicious and fabulous as those I see in the patisseries here. These will definitely be on my catch-up list when I get home next week. What I’ve so loved about this trip is that between Dorie and David, I’m ordering and eating food that we’ve actually made ourselves. For instance, we made Dorie’s Paris-Brest and I ordered it at Bofinger’s. As for David’s Merveilleux, I actually was at Aux Merveilleux de Fred’s main shop (he has 7) during a food tour and tried one. (Photo in early Paris blog post). Ro’s merveilleux looked just as gorgeous as those made at Fred’s. Our tour leader actually said to not try to make these at home! XOX

  6. I like the way you break down the different steps in making these amazing pastry. I should have separate the steps which make them less intimidating to do than all at once. I have to agree that the hazelnut praline cream has the most appeal. They taste like nutella, but better.

  7. These look great! Your pastries have great shape and I’m sure they were equally as tasty

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