The Perfect French Fall Dessert

By on October 12, 2020
fall dessert

Many women over 50 in the United States know French pastries such as croissants, éclairs, cannelés, and macaroons. They are very popular and for very good reason. The French are also known for many other pastries such as the Paris-Brest. This pastry is more than a yummy fall dessert, it also is a part of history!

The Paris-Brest was created in 1910 by Louis Durand at the request of Pierre Giffard, to commemorate the Paris–Brest bicycle race he had created in 1891. The pastry is shaped like a wheel, modeled after a bicycle wheel! It is traditionally filled with almond and hazelnut cream, but we love this modern take with rhubarb and fluffy whipped cream!

Here is the recipe to make a typical Paris-Brest at home to enjoy this fall.

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Ingredients

Pastry

  • 1 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 4 large eggs

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Instant ClearJel, divided
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

fall dessertInstructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Trace a 9″ circle on a piece of parchment. Flip the paper over and place it on a baking sheet. You can also use a 9” silicone baking sheet.
  2. Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously until the mixture comes together in a ball. If necessary, return the batter to the heat for a few minutes to help it coagulate.
  3. Remove from the heat and transfer the batter to the bowl of mixer that has a paddle attachment. Let the mixture cool for 7 minutes. Check the temperature of the batter after 7 minutes you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds. If you have a digital thermometer, the temperature should be below 125°F.
  4. Add the in the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture until each egg is absorbed before adding the next. Beat well after adding the last egg; the batter should be smooth.
  5. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe two concentric circles over the circle on the parchment; pipe a third circle on top of the bottom two.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, until the pastry begins to puff. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for another 30 minutes. The pastry should be a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and pierce the top with a paring knife in several places. Return to the oven, turn the oven off, and leave in the oven as it cools for 15 minutes. Remove pastry from the oven and allow it to finish cooling on a rack.
  7. To make the filling: Place the rhubarb and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the rhubarb collapses. Continue cooking, stirring frequently for about five minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and stir the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon of the ClearJel together. Whisk the mixture into the cooked rhubarb. Place in a refrigerator until ready to use.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Combine the confectioners’ sugar with the remaining Instant ClearJel and add both to the whipped cream. Beat the cream until it’s light and fluffy, and holds a stiff peak. Stir in the vanilla.
  9. To assemble: When the pastry is cool, split it horizontally. Spread the rhubarb filling around the inside of the base. Pipe the whipped cream decoratively on top. Replace the top of the pastry, and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Fall is a great time to head back into the kitchen for baking. Enjoy your Paris-Brest and we look forward to seeing your comments on how yours turned out below.

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The Perfect French Fall Dessert