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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