Oh goodness, this is one sloppy pastry–I’ll have to try again sometime.
But there are some things that I loved:
- The praline
From what I’ve read, a Paris-Brest typically uses a hazelnut praline. I made a pistachio praline, seasoned with some additional salt. Ground into a paste, it is pretty incredible–toasted nuts and deep caramel.
2. The pastry
I ended up making the pastry twice–the first time around, the pastry was too loose and the wheels I piped were too large. But the second time it turned out nicely–the pastry was very airy, custardy on the inside, and crisp on the outside.
Now there were also a couple things I didn’t like…
- That apricot thing-y
I made an apricot based creme mousseline with, er, mixed results…
2. The pastry cream
While the jasmine flavour was nice, it perhaps didn’t really work as I wanted it to with the pistachio. The pastry cream also became very loose and was the bigger contributor to the sloppiness, texturewise.
As for why I never seem to post lately… once I start neglecting something it becomes very easy to continue. Though it’s really only the posting part that I’ve been neglecting. I’ve actually got 40-some drafts that I’m sitting on at the moment (that being said, I think I’ll probably end up deleting 10 or so of them), so it’s not that I’ve got nothing to post.
And the drafts aren’t just a recipe and a sparse few notes and comments on texture, either. I recently devoted a whole day to editing, sticking together, organizing, uploading, and inserting photos, around 300 in total, for 20 blog posts. I think if any of my marvellously hardworking classmates were to read this they would be horrified… it took me around 5 hours and I spent the rest of my day doing absolutely no work. It was not a productive day, or it was, but not exactly for my courses.
It’s a bit difficult to decide what to post. I have some posts that are from the spring, a number throughout the summer, and some recent fall ones as well. I always hesitate around this point because I don’t know if I want to clear out some of the drafts that have been left propped in the corner or if I want to pull out and display something new and more seasonally appropriate.
Add to that the majority of my posts feel very subpar. Most often because the item itself didn’t particularly turn out very well, and in addition there are some blurry and dark pictures, a few sketchy sentences and a recipe that is, as always, rather unreliable. It’s been awfully long since my last post and so I sort of want it to be something good (i.e. not strange and sloppy pastries).
But these are coming first because it’s been ages since I made it and while it didn’t turn out too well, there were a few meagre redeeming features (if only the things I learned). Besides, it didn’t have anything written in the post earlier and now I do (just how many times have I talked about my struggles with blogging?)…
jasmine, pistachio and apricot paris-brest.
pistachio praline paste
Adapted from Joe Pastry.
70 g pistachios
70 g sugar
Spread pistachios over a sheet tray. Cook the sugar, with a splash of water to help you get started, in a small saucepan until melted and a nice golden amber. Pour over the nuts.
Break the praline into pieces, add a pinch of salt, and grind away in a food processor until it forms a paste–it will take a while. I went for around 15 minutes of solid grinding before I decided to stop. If I didn’t mentally breakdown first, the food processor would. The original recipe suggests adding a spoonful of oil to help the process.
jasmine pistachio creme praline
Adapted from Joe Pastry and the vague-conglomerate-and-occasional-irrational-decision pastry cream recipe I’ve been messing around with a number of times on this blog. This time it was too thin and soft, and could not at all hold its shape!
150 mL milk
100 mL 18% cream
2 tsp dried jasmine flowers
1 egg + 1 yolk
2 tbsp sugar
15 g cornstarch
50 g pistachio praline paste
75 mL 36% cream
Heat the 18% cream, milk and jasmine in a saucepan until simmering. Cover, turn heat to the lowest setting, and let steep, warmed, for one hour. Remove from the heat if necessary if the milk mixture begins bubbling.
Whisk the egg, yolk, sugar, and cornstarch together until smooth. Whisk this mixture into the infused milk. Cook the pastry cream, whisking constantly, until thickened and the cornstarch is completely cooked. Press through a sieve.
Beat in the praline paste–it wasn’t quite smooth for me because I hadn’t ground my praline paste completely, so it could be pressed through a sieve after the praline paste is added instead. Cover and chill.
Whip the heavy cream until thick, with soft peaks. Fold into the pastry cream.
apricot and honey creme mousseline
This was a very interesting concoction and not one I really intend to repeat. Based on the creme mousseline from Baking by Robert Pattison. I think the problem was the acidity (added in an attempt to stop the apricot puree from oxidizing further) and the overripe-fermented taste of the apricots.
4 trimmed apricots
1/2 tsp lemon juice (I would leave this out)
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp honey
15 g cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1/4 c soft butter
Begin by pureeing the apricots. Chop the apricots into small pieces and blend with lemon juice until pureed. I had 150 mL of puree. Mix in 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp honey.
Whisk together the cornstarch and egg yolks. Heat the apricot puree in a small saucepan until bubbling, slowly whisk it into the egg mixture. Return it all to the stovetop and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and cornstarch is completely cooked.
Press through a sieve and let cool until it reaches room temperature. Beat in the butter piece by piece and whisk until the cream is light and fluffy.
honey and jasmine poached apricots
1 c water
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sugar
spoonful dried jasmine flowers
2 apricots, thinly sliced
Bring the water, honey, sugar and jasmine flowers to a boil. Cook for a few minutes, add the apricots, cover, and remove from the heat. Let the mixture cool–by then the apricots should be tender.
buckwheat choux pastry
From this recipe.
150 mL water
spoonful of sugar
60 g butter
25 g buckwheat flour
50 g all purpose flour
dried jasmine flowers
Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the pastry cream. Slice each choux ring in half. Fill the bottom with a bit of apricot creme mousseline, add some poached apricot slices, and then pipe the pastry cream over top. Replace the top, sprinkle with some crumbled jasmine flower, and dust with icing sugar.