This pistachio praline Paris Brest is a show-stopping dessert made of crisp choux pastry and an indulgent pistachio praline mousseline cream. It doesn’t require a stand or hand mixer so it’s perfect for a home baker!
This Paris Brest is a truly gorgeous dessert that looks super impressive but is very achievable for a home baker. It’s made with a ring of choux pastry and filled with a silky smooth mousseline cream.
How to make a Paris Brest
There are are 4 overall steps to making a pistachio praline Paris Brest:
- Make the pistachio praline
- Make a vanilla pastry cream
- Make a choux pastry ring
- Combine butter, praline, and pastry cream to make the creme mousseline
Let’s break down each of these steps so you can tackle them with ease.
How to make pistachio praline
A praline is a candy made with caramelized sugar and roasted nuts. It sounds fancy, but it’s easy to make if you have a food thermometer.
Start by combining the water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt and mixing until everything is dissolved. Then, add your roasted pistachios and cook the mixture of medium-high heat until it reaches 320F/160C.
You’ll want to pour the mixture on parchment paper to cool. Once cooled, immediately pulse in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can place in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin until very fine.
The most important thing when making the praline is to monitor the temperature so it doesn’t over cook.
How to make vanilla pastry cream
For the vanilla pastry cream, we’ll use the following ingredients:
Milk – Milk is the base of this recipe and you should use either 2% or whole milk to ensure that there is enough fat to create a creamy texture.
Vanilla bean – Because we’re spending so much effort on a fancy dessert, I like to splurge on a real vanilla bean. However, if you don’t have vanilla beans on hand, you can use vanilla bean paste or extract instead.
Sugar – Granulated white sugar adds sweetness
Egg yolks – Egg yolks are a requirement for any custard and add important fats. You can save the whites to use for other recipes, such as macarons!
Corn starch – Corn starch acts as a thickening agent
Salt – Salt helps cut through the sweetness and adds additional flavor
Butter – unsalted butter adds richness and is added last to the hot cream
Tips for making pastry cream
- If you’re using vanilla beans, heat up the milk and steep the bean for 30 minutes to help extract the flavor
- Make sure to temper the eggs by slowly pouring the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly as you pour. This helps the eggs slowly warm up and avoids scrambling them.
- Make sure to watch over your pastry cream and whisk frequently. The cream will thicken up quickly and you want to avoid uneven cooking and lumps
- Strain the cream through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps
How to make choux pastry
For the choux pastry, we’ll use the following ingredients:
Butter – Unsalted butter provides richness and a soft texture. The fat also helps prevent the flour from clumping
Water and Milk – A mix of water and milk creates a flavorful and crisp pastry
Salt – Salt helps balance out some of the sweetness of the pastry
Sugar – Sugar adds sweetness and flavor
All purpose Flour – Flour provides structure for the pastry
Eggs – Eggs provide moisture, allowing the pastry to expand in the oven. They also help the pastry set and retain shape
Tips for great choux pastry for a Paris Brest
- How much egg you add to the pastry will always vary a tiny bit, so you’ll need to add in increments and observe the texture. I beat my eggs in a measuring cup and add slowly to the dough, mixing in between. One way to tell if your dough has enough eggs is to take a scoop with your spatula and let it drop off. The remaining dough should form a “V” shape hanging off the spatula.
- I like to have a little bit of egg left over to use for the egg wash
- Do not open the oven while the pastry is baking. This will drop the oven temperature and deflate your pastry.
- Start with a high oven temperature at the start of the bake to help with a great rise, then reduce the temperature for the remainder of the bake
- When piping, make sure that the rings touch, otherwise they will separate in the oven
How to make a pistachio praline mousseline cream
Once you’ve made the praline and pastry cream, the mousseline cream is super easy! You simply combined softened butter with the praline, then beat in the pastry cream. The most important part is making sure that your butter is at room temperature and that your pastry cream is fully cooled.
Butter that is too warm can lead to a runny mousseline cream, and butter that is too cold will be hard to incorporate.
The final result should be a fluffy, silky smooth cream that’s perfect for piping.
Other pastry recipes to try
- Pistachio lemon meringue tart
- How to make Italian method macarons
- Creme brûlée milk bread
If you make this recipe, please let me know! I would love to see your fabulous pastry towers. You can comment below or tag me on Instagram @halicopteraway.
Pistachio Praline Paris Brest
- food processor (optional)
- Saucepan or skillet
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Piping bags
- Large star tip (I use Ateco 828)
- 2 tbsp (25g) water
- 3 tbsp (35g) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp (30g) corn syrup
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (60g) shelled, roasted pistachios
- 1 cup (240ml) milk
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp (12g) corn starch
- 1 tbsp (14g) unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp (56g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1/4 cup (60g) water
- 1/4 cup (60g) milk
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup (62g) all purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp milk (for egg wash)
- crushed pistachios (for garnish)
- Pistachio praline (see above)
- Pastry cream (see above)
- 12 tbsp (170g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
Make the pistachio praline
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
- In a pan, combine water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt and stir until dissolved. Add the roasted pistachios and place over medium heat
- Heat until the mixture reaches 320°F / 160°C. It should be a deep amber color
- Use a spatula to spread the caramelized pistachios onto the prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely, which should take about 20 – 30 minutes
- Once the praline is completely cooled, place in a food processor and mix on high speed until very finely ground
Make the pastry cream
- In a sauce pan or skillet, add the milk. Slice the vanilla bean in half, scrape out the filling, and add the filling and the bean to the milk. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes to absorb the flavor.
- Add the egg yolks, sugar, corn starch, and salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk together until the egg is light and fluffy and falls in ribbons off the whisk.
- Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking as you pour. After all the milk has been added, return the mixture to the pan. Cook on medium heat, whisking constantly, until the cream has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until well incorporated. Pass through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps, and cover with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should touch the top of the cream to prevent a film from forming. Let cool for 30 minutes, then place in the fridge to finish cooling.
Make the choux pastry
- Combine butter, water, milk, salt, and granulated sugar in a medium saucepan or pot over medium heat, stirring until the butter has melted. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Add all of the flour and stir until completely incorporated. The dough should be a thick ball. Press against bottom of sides of the pan for 1 minute to cook the flour and remove from heat.
- Place ball of dough into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes before adding eggs.
- Slowly add the beaten eggs in 3 or 4 batches. Between each batch, use a spatula to mix well and observe the texture of the dough. At first it will look clumpy and curdled, but will eventually become thick and glossy. Stop when you have a thick and pipeable texture. The batter should fall easily off your spatula, but have enough strength to leave behind a "V" shaped flag. I like to save at least 1-2 tbsp of egg to use as the egg wash.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and trace an 8 inch circle into the middle of the paper. Lightly brush the sheet with water. The water helps create extra humidity in the oven, which helps with puffing.
- Fill a piping bag with pastry dough and cut off the tip to create a 1/2 inch opening. Pipe one ring of pastry along the 8 inch circle. Pipe a second ring along the inside of the first ring, making sure that they are touching. Pipe a third ring on top, in between the first two rings.
- Mix the leftover egg from the pastry dough with 1 tsp milk to create an egg wash. Brush on the surface of the pastry, then sprinkle with crushed pistachios.
- Bake for 15 minutes and then, making sure not to open the oven door, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 10 – 15 more minutes until golden brown
- Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire cooling rack
Make the mousseline cream
- In a large bowl, add the softened butter and pistachio praline. Mix with a spatula until the praline is evenly distributed. Add the pastry cream and whisk until light and fluffy
- Place in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip
Assemble the Paris Brest
- Once the pastry has fully cooled, use a serrated knife slice in half horizontally. Pipe a ring of cream on the bottom of the pastry. You should have just enough cream to pipe large loops
- Cover the cream with the top half the pastry. Dust with powdered sugar
- This pastry is best enjoyed the same day that it is made
- If you don’t have a food processor, you can break the praline into pieces and put in a zip-top bag. Then use a rolling pin to smash and grind into as small of pieces as possible