Hi hi! So sorry for the quietness around here, I have been working my little butt off on a really fun project which I’m super excited about - a little ebook for Heilala vanilla! They just launched their new range of flavoured extracts, and so I’m doing a wee recipe for each one, along with four vanilla centered recipes. I’m super jazzed about it, but oh man it’s been busy. They will be selling the recipe book on their site, so I will be sure to share once it is available.
I just wanted to pop on here and share this recipe which I worked on a week or so ago - Paris Brest with a Brown Butter Streusel, Custard Mousseline Cream, and Spiced Apples. I had some brown butter streusel and spiced apples that needed using up, and i’ve been eyeing up a few Paris Brest recipes for a while, so here we are. Paris Brest is basically a circle of choux - what you would get if you baked a cruller instead of frying it. It’s tradituonally filled with a praline Mousseline, but I riffed a little on the filling. I topped the unbaked circles of choux with the brown butter streusel and some swedish pearl sugar, baked them off, and then filled them with the spiced apple mix and a custard mousseline cream, which is essentially a German buttercream but with a much higher pastry cream to butter ratio than German, which has lots more butter than pastry cream. I used custard powder for the super nostalgic taste - if you can’t find it in your supermarket you can get it online, but corn starch works great too. We always used to have baked apples for dessert with custard made with custard powder, so this is a slightly fancied up version of those I guess.
This probably seems like a whole load of steps. I promise it’s not - I like to make the pastry cream, streusel and spiced apple the day before, then the next day all you have to do is soften your butter for the mousseline, whip it up, bake off the choux, and assemble the whole thing. It probably seems daunting but lots of it is very easy to make ahead! You could even make the choux ahead of time too if you wanted - they freeze great in an airtight container in the freezer, just take them out 10 minutes or so before you need to fill them. Make sure that they are room temp before you slice them, so they don’t crumble. Happy Choux-ing!
A few wee tips:
This makes a lot. Like, 10 Paris Brest a lot. Good news though - everything halves perfectly. But also if you’re going to go to the work of making the choux you might as well use it. If you don’t want to make 10 paris brest, pipe out some cream puffs or something, freeze on the tray, and then store them in an airtight bag. You can bake them directly from the freezer. Baked choux freezes really well too in an airtight container.
The Brown Butter Streusel is totally optional - I just love how it gives a little additional crunch texture wise. It lasts a really long time so you can always make more and keep it in an airtight container in your cupboard. It has made it’s way onto so many things already on here - I keep making more to use in recipes, then make a recipe to use it up, etc etc.
The mousseline will keep in the fridge once you’ve whipped butter into it, but you might need to re-whip when you bring it back to room temp to get it the right texture. I often get it close to the right temp and then whip it in the mixer and blow torch the side of the bowl. PLEASE be careful if you do this and only do it if you have a metal bowl. Blow torch at your own risk.
The swedish sugar isn't necessary, but if you can get your hands on it, it's hugely worthwhile! I just sprinkled a little on the top.
I have included an extra 'just in case' egg in the ingredients for the choux. The reason that this is in there, is that sometimes you need to add extra egg to the pastry if necessary. You want the mixture to be at a consistency where if you dip in the beater of the mixer, the batter will form a 'v' shape and eventually break off. If it is too stiff, and breaks off very quickly, you may need to add another beaten egg, and mix again, before performing the test.
I bake two trays of Paris Brest at a time, but if your oven can only handle one, save the egg wash and sprinkling step until just before you bake them.
Paris Brest with Brown Butter Streusel, Custard Mousseline Cream and Spiced Apples
- Makes 10-12 Paris Brest -
Custard Mousseline Cream
90g custard powder or corn starch
225g egg yolks
825g whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
½ tsp salt
50g unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Spiced Apple Filling
900g Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes
100g Brown Sugar
1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Brown Butter Streusel
160g unsalted butter, cubed
200g Dark Brown Sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
230g all-purpose flour
125g whole milk
110g unsalted butter, cubed
5g Kosher Salt
5g vanilla bean paste
165g All-purpose flour
240g eggs, lightly beaten, plus more if required (see tips)
1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
Swedish pearl sugar for sprinkling, optional
- PROCESS -
CUSTARD MOUSSELINE CREAM
In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and custard powder.
In a medium pot, warm the milk, vanilla paste, and salt until there is movement just around the edges of the milk - do not bring it to the boil.
Remove the milk from the heat, and, whisking constantly, add half of the milk mixture into the egg and cornflour mixture to temper the egg yolks. Whisk briskly for 30 seconds. Transfer the milk-yolk mixture back to the pot, and return to a medium heat. Whisk constantly until very thick.
Remove from the heat and whisk in 50g of the butter, mixing well until totally combined. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Transfer to a container or bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate until completely chilled.
When you are ready to assemble, place the remaining 250g butter in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the butter until it is smooth and creamy. Whisk the chilled pastry cream to help remove any lumps, then add a quarter of the pastry cream at a time to the butter, mixing until combined. Whip the mousseline for a further minute, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for 2-3 minutes to help remove any air.
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a french star tip such as an ateco #867.
SPICED APPLE FILLING
Place the chopped apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla into a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the apples are tender, approximately 10-12 minutes. Do not worry if it looks dry to begin with - the apples will release some of their moisture as they start to cook down.
Transfer to a container and allow to cool completely. Store in the fridge.
BROWN BUTTER STREUSEL
Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the butter in a small pan, and place on the stove over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted. Continue to cook, until the butter begins to foam, smells nutty, and goes a deep golden brown colour. Remove from the heat and place in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix well to combine. Using your hands, break up any large lumps. Spread evenly over the baking sheet, and bake until lightly golden and toasty, 10-15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Preheat the oven to 400˚f / 200˚c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie cutter, trace 5 3” (7.5cm) circles on each baking sheet using a pen or a pencil, leaving some room for spreading (about 2” between each), then flip over the baking sheet so that the side with the drawing is facing downward.
Fit a large piping bag with a large french star piping tip (ateco #867, #868 or
In a medium pot, combine the milk, water, butter, salt, vanilla bean paste, and sugar. Place over medium heat, and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture has begun to boil. Remove from the heat, and add the flour all at once, mixing quickly with a wooden spoon to combine. The mixture will form a thick paste.
Return to the heat, and, stirring constantly, cook the mixture for 2 minutes to help dry it out. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute to help cool down the mixture.
With the mixture running on low, slowly stream in the 240g egg. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until the egg is fully incorporated. Test the consistency of the batter by dipping in the beater and pulling up. If it forms a v which eventually breaks off, you are good to go. If it seems too stiff, slowly add another beaten egg and mix to incorporate.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared piping bag. Pipe circles of the choux dough, following the guide of the template, applying even pressure and stopping the piping just before you close off the circle. Repeat until you have piped out 10-12 circles.
Lightly brush each Paris Brest with egg wash and sprinkle with the streusel and pearl sugar.
Bake the Paris Brest for 15 min at 400˚f / 200˚c, then turn down the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c, and bake for a further 20 minutes, until the puffs are deeply golden. Remove from the oven and poke a small vent in the side of each using a paring knife or chopstick, to help the steam escape. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. If baking in two batches, return the oven to 400˚f / 200˚c, and repeat the baking process with the remaining buns.
Once the Paris Brest are cool, slice each in half using a serrated knife. Fill the bottom half of the paris brest with the spiced apple mixture. Pipe a round of mousseline cream onto the top of the apples - you can do this however you like, I piped a continuous round of little circles. Top with the second half of the Paris Brest.
Best eaten on the day that they are made. Store components separately until ready to serve.