Hazelnuts became my favorite nut in the past few years. My addiction to these golden and buttery nuts is making me add them into just about any pastry or dessert I make. One of the most delicious ingredients there are is Praline Paste, made of caramelized hazelnuts that is grinded into a smooth, luscious and addictive paste.
The following Paris-Brest tart is some kind of homage to a very popular French dessert – Paris-Brest. It’s made of golden short crust pastry, filled with chocolate ganache and lots of praline cream (the cream is traditionally used to fill the choux pastry in the classical Paris-Brest), and on top there’s a crunchy chocolate and hazelnut disc.
For short crust pastry:
- 150 grams all-purpose flour
- 100 grams cold butter (cut into cubes)
- 40 grams icing sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 1-2 tbsp. cold water (as needed)
For chocolate ganache:
- 125 grams dark chocolate 60% cocoa solids
- 140 ml. heavy cream
For praline cream:
- 250 ml. heavy cream
- 250 ml. milk
- 3 large egg yolks
- 75 grams sugar
- 40 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 vanilla pods (split and scraped)
- 250 grams soft butter
- 350 grams praline paste
For chocolate and hazelnut disc:
- 100 grams dark chocolate 60% cocoa solids
- Some caramelized hazelnuts bits
In a food processor with a steel blade put flour, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and process until mixture is crumbly.
- Add egg yolk and continue to process just until large clumps of dough form. If the dough is not setting, gradually add a little water.
- Transfer the dough chunks on a lightly floured work surface and form a disc-shape with your hands.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
- Roll out the dough on a floured work surface about 3-4 mm thick and line the pie pan. It is important to create a right angle between the sides and the base of the crust, which will ensure the edges remain high when baking.
- Using a fork create holes in the crust. Freeze the crust for about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 170c degrees.
- Blind baking: put a sheet of heat-resistant plastic wrap or baking paper on the frozen crust and fill with dry beans or special weights for baking.
- Bake for about 12-14 minutes.
- Remove the weights and the plastic wrap and continue to bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes or until it is golden brown.
- Cool completely at room temperature.
Chop the chocolate and put in a bowl.
- Heat cream in a small saucepan to a simmer.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, wait a minute, and whisk until you get a uniform and shiny chocolate ganache.
- Pour the ganache over the baked crust and refrigerate for about 1/2 hour to set.
In a medium pot heat cream and milk to simmering point.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, flour and vanilla grains.
- Add about 1/3 amount of boiling milk over the egg yolk mixture while whisking until mixture is smooth.
- Add the remaining milk and beat well.
- Return the mixture into a pot and cook over medium heat white constantly whisking until you get a thick pastry cream.
- Cool the cream completely in the refrigerator.
- Transfer the cold cream into a bowl and whisk.
- In a mixer bowl with paddle-attachment whip butter until it softens slightly. Add praline paste and blend until mixture is smooth.
- Add the whipped pastry cream and mix just until creamy and smooth.
- Transfer the cream into a piping bag fitted with 2cm serrated catheter and drizzle tall mounds on top of chocolate ganache layer.
Chop the chocolate and melt in the microwave or over double-boiler.
- Pour the chocolate onto baking paper or chocolate sheet; flatten to a thin layer using a spatula.
- Sprinkle the chocolate with hazelnut bits and let it set a few minutes in the refrigerator.
- When the chocolate has stabilized but still slightly soft, cut into 16 cm diameter circle and another circle 6-8 cm diameter, thereby creating a disc with a hole.
- Cool completely in the freezer until the set.
- Extracting the chocolate disc gently from the paper and quickly put on the tart. If necessary, pipe some more cream in the central part.
- Serve immediately.
- The tart is at its best on day of preparation, but you can keep it in a closed container in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
- Praline paste can be bought in specialty baking stores.