Pistachio Passion Fruit Paris-Brest

Keepin’ the alliteration game strong with this classy French pastry. # 152: Pistachio Passion Fruit Paris-Brest

What do you think of when you see a giant round eclair filled with cream? A bike wheel perhaps? Me neither, but it was originally invented to help promote a bike race from the French town of Brest to Paris in the early 1900s.

I really love when a pastry has a specific origin story. Being able to pin-point when and why a pastry was first created makes me feel more connected to the wider baking world. With this one in particular, I love that a rich pastry was used to advertise an athletic race. The faster you bike, the more Paris-Brest you can eat! Plus de pâtisserie s’il vous plait!

A classic Paris-Brest uses a piped choux pastry shell, luscious praline pastry cream and crunchy hazelnuts on top. My version is a bit more fresh and zingy with citrus mousse and toasted pistachios adding some depth. As per usual, my flavor choices came from what I had on hand: the last of the frozen passion fruit curd and leftover toasted pistachios. But I can’t wait to try the full-on classic praline filling next time I have hazelnuts hanging around!

Zoe Francois’s dough recipe is choux-in for the best one I’ve ever used.

I’ve used better choux puns in the past (see éclairs and croquembouche), but this batch of choux turned out the crispiest, most structurally-sound pastry I’ve ever made. Truly magical! The baking directions were a little bit different this time:

  • Bake for 30 minutes at 375F
  • Reduce the temp down to 350F (without opening the oven door – MUST RESIST TEMPTATION)
  • Bake for 20 more minutes then turn off the oven entirely (the oven door is still lava – don’t you dare open it!)
  • Leave your choux in the cooling oven for an hour
  • Squeal with delight about how perfectly golden and crisp your choux is once it emerges from it’s sauna

But first, gotta prep that dough.

Four eggs later, it’s ready for the piping bag.

Pizzazzing up the shape with a small fluted tip.

Did it work? Feeling the pizzazz?

Aww yeah! The stacked logs melded together into one glorious choux crown.

Whipped cream + passion fruit curd = citrus-y mousse clouds that play well with others.

Lookie those air pockets!

Bring out the larger fluted tip for more drama.

Like an homage to Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s lace collar.

Nuts about pistachios over here!

The only snow you’ll find in the Bay Area is powdered sugar falling gently onto a pastry.

Happy munching!

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