Well, here I am for February's challenge, hosted by Susan of Baking with Susan (who has the recipe posted btw). I figured that I better make this month's recipe as I'm hosting next month and it would be pretty pathetic not to post even once before hosting!
A Paris-Brest is basically a wheel-shaped cream puff, not normally chocolate but this is Francois' version. You make a chocolate choux pastry and then fill it with chocolate pastry cream, traditionally topped with sliced blanched almonds and homemade chocolate drops but I left those off b/c I'm lazy!
I have made choux pastry before when I made eclairs so I was not afraid of this...I was actually quite excited b/c when I made the eclairs I made them the very hardest way...for some reason I thought you had to hand mix them with a wooden spoon--do you know how hard it is to incorporate eggs into a paste-like dough with a wooden spoon?? MUCH harder than using a mixer!!
Well, despite having the lovely modern convenience of a mixer, I didn't get these quite right. My Paris-Brest fell flat...the cream puffs looked pretty much done but I should have taken them out and left the rest in for a bit longer. Oh well...
hubs thought it all pretty much looked like poop...not excatly appetizing! ;)
Also, I'm not sure that I got the chocolate pastry cream right either. The mixture never quite came to a boil, but it did get rather lumpy despite my consistent whisking. It was extremely thick and dark, but had smoothed out when I added the butter and chopped chocolate. When I tasted the cream it was still good, just very thick, so I decided to add some sweetened whipped cream which lightened it up nicely. (unfortunately, i forgot to take a picture of the cream before I changed it.)