Fresh Pear Paris-Brest
The shareable choux dessert for next level autumn entertaining.
Autumn entertaining is the best. While some might flourish dining al fresco or be master of the grill in the summer, cozy indoor gatherings with holiday magic in the air is where I thrive. If you are looking for an impressive yet totally doable fall dessert, this Fresh Pear Paris-Brest recipe is the ace up your sleeve.
Imagine presenting this lavish-looking, secretly approachable pastry at the end of a dinner party. It is grand enough to close out a holiday gathering, unexpected yet familiar, and its parts can be made ahead of time. Like a shareable choux bun, this is the fancy French pastry party trick you need this season.
A Paris-Brest is a classic dessert in the pâte à choux family. Choux pastry is what makes profiteroles puff and encloses éclair fillings. In a Paris-Brest, it is piped in a ring. Named after the Paris to Brest cycling race, the finished dessert resembles a bicycle wheel.
A crisp outer shell, luscious pastry cream, and fresh diced pear - this textural treat is full of flavor. I used brown sugar in the pastry cream with extra salt and vanilla bean paste poured from the heart (more is more!). The butterscotch-like custard and ripe pear feels just right for the chillier months ahead.
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Show-stopping Serving Tips:
It took me a minute to figure this recipe out just right. Once I got it, I was so freakin’ excited! It’s truly beautiful and I can’t wait to share it when we have friends over. That being said, here are some tips so that you can nail it on the first try.
What is great about this recipe is that none of the parts are overly complicated and each can be made separately before serving. Pastry cream can and should be made in advance - at least two hours but up to two days. If I was hosting, I would bake the choux ring itself early in the day - allowing it to crisp and cool properly, but out of the way until needed.
Here’s the trick you don’t want to miss: pre-cut the top ring! Since the shell is crispy and filling soft, pre-cutting the top will keep the insides from squishing out when serving.
Pâte à Choux Tips & Tricks:
Take care when adding the eggs into the pâte à choux. Since all eggs are different in size (even those all labeled “large”), your choux pastry may require a different number of eggs each time. Remember to whisk the fourth and possible fifth eggs, as you may only need to use a portion of the egg.
The goal is to add as many eggs as the dough can support without jeopardizing how it will pipe. More eggs = more “puff power.” The dough still needs to be thick enough to hold its shape, so make sure not to add too many. This likely means adding a fraction of the final egg or skipping it all together. When done, the dough should fall off the paddle attachment or the edge of a spatula like a big tongue and come to a “V” shape at the end.
Be sure to fully pre-heat the oven before baking the pâte à choux.
To retain the “puff,” properly cool the Paris-Brest in the warm oven. Turn off the heat, and crack the oven door. Cool for 30 minutes before setting on a wire rack. This helps tremendously against deflating.
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