It’s gonna be May

It’s been a little while since my last post, but with good reason. The hubs and I were on vacation in the land of beautiful pastries, Paris! We ate our way through the city. Understandably so, the food is damn delicious and we walked on average 28 000 steps a day. Our breakfasts were super “healthy”, which consisted of fresh viennoiseries and fresh pressed juice from one of my favourite bakeries in Paris, Eric Kayser. For lunch we usually found a bakery and bought some fresh sandwiches to enjoy at a park nearby.

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On our craziest museum packed day, we ended up at a bakery near the Musée de l’Armée. Coincidentally, crews were setting up the course for the upcoming Formula E. One crew was in front of us in this tiny bakery attempting to order food, I’ve never seen someone so relieved to see a “Quebecois” before. We then took our lunch to a nearby park and quite possibly made an appearance on some sort of outdoor flora TV show/documentary shoving food into our mouths.

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One of the pastries I was dying to taste in Paris was the beloved macaron. When I tell you the hubs didn’t know what hit him when I pulled out my extensive list of bakeries and he saw how many of them involved macarons…let me just say he didn’t quite know what to say. I was most excited to get my hands on some of Pierre Hermé’s master pieces. So this next bit is hard to admit…his macarons weren’t my favourite. While the flavours are exotic and don’t get me wrong, extremely delicious, Carette’s macarons were out of this world.  I even managed to convince the hubs we needed to try McDonald’s macarons (not too bad).

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Before heading to Paris, I knew exactly which pastry I wanted to taste test for my next challenge and from where. May’s challenge is the Paris Brest! The hubs tried to convince me to insert a boob joke here… For those who may not know, a Paris Brest is a choux pastry in the form of a wheel with a praline cream in the middle. It was created in 1910 by Louis Durand to commemorate the Paris-Brest-Paris bike race. According to the internet the best Paris Brest in Paris can be found at Pâtisserie des Rêves (highly recommended). One of their bakeries was located a quick 10 minute walk from our hotel. Their Paris Brest had the right amount of crunch on top of the choux pastry and the praline/hazelnut cream was delicious with a little extra praline hidden inside the cream.

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Here is the next hard part to admit, I failed again. 😦 While some may say that taste is everything, I was really hoping to create something as beautiful as the Paris Brest we ate from Pâtisserie des Rêves. Unfortunately that is not what happened. I had quite a hard time finding the perfect recipe. My only regret from our trip is not buying the cook book from Pâtisserie des Rêves. To my surprise I found the bakery’s recipe online here: http://perleensucre.com/paris-brest-version-philippe-conticini/

I had to google a few of the ingredients because in Quebec they name things differently than they do in France (and it is embarrassing to admit that it took me way too long to figure out what praliné de chocolat is).

For the choux pastry, I used the recipe found in Dominique Ansel’s book. I wanted to make sure I nailed the choux and to fully understand what I was doing. This in the end didn’t matter because my choux pastry is what failed me. After doing a bit of research, I might not have baked it long enough causing it to deflate. Other than a deflated wheel of choux pastry, my Paris Brest was delicious! One choux turned out so I separated it from the wheel and assembled it. I nailed the crunch on top and the cream. Overall I declare this challenge a semi success because I didn’t have a meltdown over it. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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