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My Paris-Brest pastry had a flat tire

Cream-filled pastries and feats of athleticism go together like peas and carrots, so the history behind November’s Daring Bakers Challenge recipe makes perfect sense.

The Paris–Brest-Paris bicycle race was first run in 1891 and is the oldest open-road bicycle race that’s still being run. It’s held every four years now, and it isn’t open to professionals. It’s 1,200 kilometers from Paris to Brest and back again, and PBP participants have 90 hours to complete the course. An equivalent distance in the U.S. would be from Kansas City to Detroit. That’s a pretty long bike ride.

The Paris-Brest pastry was created in 1910 to commemorate the PBP race. It’s piped into a circle to look like a bicycle tire, and it’s filled with a fluffy praline-flavored pastry cream because… ummm… I guess just because praline pastry cream is delicious.

The Paris-Brest is made with a pâte à choux dough, which I’ve made successfully in the past. It didn’t go so well this time around, though, and I think it’s because I didn’t cook it quite long enough and didn’t get enough air into the dough. My bicycle tires were pretty well flat. I decided to make the pastry cream with cookie butter rather than praline, mainly because I didn’t want to make praline. Poppy — who often prefers a very subtle flavor — thought I should have used less cookie butter, but the rest of the household was pleased with the result. It was a little bit grainy, but it tasted nice.

Since my pastry was more cracker-ring than pastry, I wasn’t able to cut them in half to fill them. Instead, we piled the cookie butter cream into the centers and called it a day.
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Black lives matter

I couldn’t turn away from Ferguson MO last night. I haven’t been able to since August 9, 1 when Michael Brown was shot.

I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m so crushingly sad for my friends who have to worry about this for their sweet little boys. I don’t know what to do with any of that emotion. I know that just being angry & frustrated & sad isn’t sufficient. I don’t know — as a white suburban stay-at-home mom — what I can do with any of it that can actually affect any change.

So for now, at least, I’m going to keep listening and paying attention.

Michael Brown

Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead on August 9 by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.

Eric Garner

The medical examiner said compression of the neck and chest, along with Garner’s positioning on the ground while being restrained by police during the July 17 stop on Staten Island, caused his death.

John Crawford

In the final moments of the footage from August 5, Crawford is seen standing at the end of an aisle, pointing the [AirSoft] gun downwards at his side, occasionally swinging it and holding it towards a store shelf containing pet products. Oblivious to the unfolding police response, Crawford, 22, talks casually on the phone with the mother of his two young sons.

Ezell Ford

Ford had a history of mental illness and had been convicted of marijuana possession and illegal possession of a loaded firearm. In January, he was put on probation for trespassing in Long Beach. … What is clear: After he was stopped, Ford was killed, shot by two members of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Notes:

  1. A friend of mine is a columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, so I was following the story through him and others on Twitter well before the cable news cameras finally made it to town.