Tiered “Éclair” Paris Brest Gateau

Tiered "Eclair" Paris Brest Gateau

As a self-taught cook, there are certain recipes I avoid due to the technique, process and time it takes to get them right. Perfecting choux pastry for instance, is one of these daunting processes that always made me tremble with intimidation.

Prior to this recipe, I had only ever made choux once before and it was an entire disaster – partly due to my impatient nature of opening the oven door to check and see whether the pastry had risen. This is definitely the ultimate sin that can be committed when making choux pastry, as it will always result in a deflated lump that cannot be resurrected no matter how hard you try.  

After my initial failure, I was more motivated than ever to perfect choux pastry. I read countless cookbooks, blogs and watched way too many reality cooking shows so that I could learn all about the unusually temperamental process. Inspired and armed with newfound knowledge, I decided to create the ultimate of all choux recipes, a classic Paris Brest. 

Tiered "Eclair" Paris Brest GateauTiered "Eclair" Paris Brest Gateau

For those unaware, the Paris Brest was originally created in the early nineteen hundreds to celebrate the 1200km bicycle race of the same name. Today, the race is still run and it’s understandable as to why the recipe has stood the test of time – it is so utterly delicious. Traditionally, a ring of choux is filled with a praline mousseline cream and sprinkled with flaked almonds and icing sugar.

However, I wanted to create my own unique version that rivalled the traditional standard. This Tiered “Éclair” Paris Brest Gateau is unlike any I have ever seen, or eaten – it is comprised of four tiered choux layers that also makes a subtle flavour hint to another of my favourite pastries, the chocolate éclair. 

Tiered "Eclair" Paris Brest GateauTiered "Eclair" Paris Brest Gateau

If ever there was a pastry as decadent or extravagant as this Tiered “Éclair” Paris Brest Gateau, I have yet to find it. Four golden, light and fluffy rings of choux pastry are filled with a salted caramel mousseline then topped with a dark chocolate ganache and sprinkled with a crushed hazelnut praline. 

This is not a recipe to make if you are short on time or for the faint hearted. It is demanding with many time consuming and labour intensive components – rings of pate a choux, salted caramel mousseline, dark chocolate ganache and hazelnut praline, all have to be created and assembled. The end result is definitely worth it though.

Tiered "Eclair" Paris Brest GateauTiered "Eclair" Paris Brest Gateau

If you do not feel up to the challenge of a 1200km bicycle race, I’d strongly encourage you to take on the challenge of making this Tiered “Éclair” Paris Brest Gateau. It is decadently delicious and enrapturingly beautiful.

Tiered “Éclair” Paris Brest Gateau
 
Ingredients
  • For the Choux Pastry:
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • ⅓ cup (90 g) butter, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (150 g) plain flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk, whisked
  • For the Hazelnut Praline:
  • 150 g blanched Hazelnuts
  • 100 g (1/3 cup) water
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 100 g liquid glucose
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 20 g butter, cubed
  • For assembly:
  • 1 x quantity Salted Caramel Mousseline (recipe link below)
  • 1 x quantity Dark Chocolate Ganache (recipe link below)
  • 4 x Choux Pastry Rings, halved
  • 1 x quantity Hazelnut Praline
Instructions
  1. For the Choux pastry:
  2. In a large saucepan, place the water, butter and salt over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the flour and whisk vigorously until the dough begins to come away from the sides of the pan (1-2 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat and transfer the dough to a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until cooled and at room temperature (2 minutes), so as to not cook the egg. Add the 4 whole eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and glossy but still holds its shape.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F). On two sheets of baking paper draw three 15 cm disks and one smaller 12 cm disk. Place these sheets disk side down on two baking trays.
  5. Fill the pastry in a piping bag fitted with a 2 cm (3/4 inch) plain nozzle. Pipe a ring of pastry over the marked disk. Pipe a second pastry ring on the inside so it is touching the first. Pipe a third pastry ring on top along the center seam where the two bottom rings meet. Brush with whisked egg yolk and using the back of a fork, gently score the circles to promote even rising.
  6. Sprinkle the sheet with water and bake for 15 minutes until well puffed and golden. Decrease the oven temperature to 180 C (350 F) and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until golden brown and crisp all over. Leave the oven door ajar and let the rings cool. Once cool, gently cut the rings horizontally. Set aside for assembly.
  7. For the Hazelnut Praline:
  8. Before you start, have two pieces of baking paper and a rolling pin ready on a flat work surface.
  9. Bring the water, sugar, glucose and salt to the boil in a large pan over high heat, stirring as you go.
  10. Bring the syrup to 165 C (330 F) or until it is a light-amber in colour (5-8 minutes from boiling) and add the cubed butter, whisking briskly. When the butter has melted and is emulsified with the caramel, tip in the hazelnuts and stir quickly to coat.
  11. Quickly pour the coated hazelnuts onto one of the baking paper sheets and cover with the over and roll so that the hazelnuts are all in a single layer. Let cool completely, then gently life off the top baking paper layer. Break nougatine into shards and roughly chop or smash. Set aside for Assembly
  12. For Assembly:
  13. Place the bottom half of a Choux ring on a cake stand.
  14. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle with the salted caramel Mousseline. Gently pipe the Mousseline onto the ring in a connecting chain of rosettes. (If you feel your Paris Brest is not tall enough you can add another layer of Mousseline on top the previous one).
  15. Gently sandwich with the other half of the Choux ring. Top the choux ring with dark chocolate ganache. Repeat this process with the remaining 15 cm choux rings.
  16. When the last (12 cm) Choux ring is placed, piped and layered with ganache, gently sprinkle the crushed hazelnut nougatine over the top. Chill Paris Brest Gateau in the fridge for 30 minutes to slightly harden the layers and then serve.

 Salted Caramel Mousseline and Dark Chocolate Ganache recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller 

Tiered "Eclair" Paris Brest Gateau

89 Comments

  • Reply Teena@feedyourtemptations November 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    O my Goodness Thalia….this looks awesome…want to dive right in…will give this a try soon 🙂

  • Reply Kari Peters November 3, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Wow… just wow! Everything about this is drool worthy!

  • Reply Lilli @ Sugar and Cinnamon November 2, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Oh my gosh this cake is actually incredible! You make the most fabulous desserts I’m actually in awe 🙂

  • Reply Aysegul - Ice November 1, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Oh my!!! This looks so yummy!

  • Reply Antiquing Adventures + Fall Stew Recipe + Inspiring Links - The Mediterranean Dish November 1, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    […] you are looking for a well-worth-it baking challenge, try my friend Thalia’s recipe for Tiered “Eclair” Paris Brest Gateau. Absolute […]

  • Reply Heather @ shards of lavender November 1, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    What a stunning dessert! I’m one of those impatient cooks too, always taking a small peek into the oven. I’ve ruined a few creations that way… The hazelnut praline looks absolutely divine!

  • Reply Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder November 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Wow that looks utterly decadent and delicious! On my to do list!

  • Reply Alexandra @ Confessions of a bright-eyed baker October 31, 2014 at 12:09 am

    This SUCH a perfectly elaborate dessert. Love it <3

  • Reply All that's Jas October 29, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Wow, gorgeous photos and I’m getting fat just looking at them. Drooling….

  • Reply Kelley October 29, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Umm are you kidding? This looks absolutely amazing. Your photography is beautiful I cannot wait to try this dessert!

  • Reply Renee October 29, 2014 at 8:46 am

    OH MY GOSH Thalia! This is insane. Insanely good.. And it is so gorgeous! I’m speechless. All I can do is stare at your photos. Whoa..

  • Reply Shinee October 29, 2014 at 4:13 am

    You blew my mind with this, Thalia! My husband loves chocolate eclairs, and can’t wait to make this for him! Super creative!

  • Reply Charlotte October 27, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Okay…. this is absolutely stunning…. I can almost taste it!

  • Reply Raymund October 27, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    My oh my! hy heart keeps on pumping can you hear my heavy breathing. Look at that beauty!

  • Reply Melanie @ Carmel Moments October 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    So impressive! Love all those layers. Perfect!

  • Reply Tash October 27, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Oh my god Thalia, you are a wizard – of the eclair and choux pastry kind!!
    I find it so refreshing how you can admit that some thing make you “tremble with fear”…Self taught over here too. I can’t bring myself to make pastry either! Hell, I’m too scared to make pizza at the best of times. It’s this crippling fear of failure and the unknown. But at the end of the day, you have to just look at the situation and think…omg. It’s just food. May as well have a go, right? This looks incredible!

  • Reply Michele @ Two Raspberries October 27, 2014 at 4:56 am

    this is so beautiful! seriously a work of art! and it looks SO delicious 😉

  • Reply Lily@LittleSweetBaker October 27, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Oh my, that is the most decadent and delicious looking dessert I’ve ever seen, wow, I can only imagine how fabulous it must taste, yum!

  • Reply Danielle | Krafted Koch October 26, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Why must the most labor intensive treats be the most enticing?! This looks deliciously breathtaking!

  • Reply Monika @ MY FOOD AND HAPPINESS October 26, 2014 at 12:29 am

    Wow this definitely looks amazing! It sounds like a bit of a challenge but totally worth it by the looks of it!

  • Reply Nicola October 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    My mental response to this recipe was something along the lines of “OHHH MY GAHHHH”. So incredibly unique and inventive. I’ll be pinning this one for future reference!

  • Reply Emma October 25, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    This looks impossibly good! However, even WITH your encouragement I doubt I will be making choux anytime soon… I’m too much of a slap-dash baker. Can I just come over and be your taste-tester?!

  • Reply dawn@joyfulscribblings October 25, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Your desserts are amazing and like works of art. Sadly enough I wouldn’t have the patience to make most of them, but I would definitely purchase them 🙂

  • Reply Sarah | Broma Bakery October 25, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Girl. You’ve gotta stop. You’re too good.

  • Reply Christina @ Bake with christina October 25, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Wow! So pretty looking! I would definitely devour this! 😛 Pinned!

  • Reply Marissa October 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Your persistence paid off, Thalia. This Paris brest is absolutely stunning!

  • Reply Cailee October 25, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Ahhh! This is beautiful! What a lovely recipe! Looks lovely AND tasty!

  • Reply Kayley | The Kitchen McCabe October 25, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Oh my goodness, this looks absolutely stunning and so decadant!

  • Reply Vedika @ Hot chocolate hits October 25, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I absolutely LOVE your photographs! Beautiful. I love your addition of a salted caramel mousseline and the hazelnuts 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply meagan @ The F&B Department October 25, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Oh my goodness. It’s almost looks too pretty to eat! (keyword is “almost”; I would definitely devour it). Pinned!

  • Reply Shiran @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet. October 25, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I LOVE Paris Brest! I tasted it everywhere when I visited Paris and couldn’t get enough of it. The first time I made choux pastry, it was a disaster too 🙂 Yours looks perfect!

  • Reply Sugar et al. October 25, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Choux pastry is my absolute favourite. But I don’t think I have ever seen such a decadent delicious Paris Brest. Love the idea and everything about this. Pinned!

  • Reply Louisa [Living Lou] October 24, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Wow! This looks phenomenal! I actually find choux pastry to be one of easier kinds of pastry to make (I love Dorie Greenspan’s recipe), it seems daunting but is a lot simpler than you would think. This really is a show stopping dessert, would love to serve something like this at a dinner party. Talk about impressive!

  • Reply Carla (@charliesue) October 24, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    I love absolutely EVERYTHING about this post. Gorgeous photos, a cooking success story and an amazing recipe!

  • Reply Sherri@The Well Floured Kitchen October 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Oh my goodness- I’ve never seen anything like this! I love to make eclairs (and lots of other goodies with choux), but I don’t think I’ve ever varied from a boring traditional shape. And those fillings- amazing. Pinning this beauty!

  • Reply Christine // my natural kitchen October 24, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I’m so impressed! This looks really, really fantastic. I bet whoever got to enjoy this with you felt pretty special eating such a masterpiece 😉

  • Reply Catalina @ Shades of Pink October 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    wow I have never ever seen something like this, gorgeous cake, and I love eclairs, so this is so up my alley!

  • Reply Kathy @ Olives & Garlic October 24, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Wow Thalia, this is impressive. Not only does it look gorgeous it also looks scrumptious. Serious talent.

  • Reply Mira October 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Looks beautiful! I can only imagine how good it is!

  • Reply Melanie @ Carmel Moments October 24, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Oh my goodness! I wouldn’t even know what to call that other than fabulous!
    I’m total eclair fan but can’t even remember the last time I indulged. Scrumptious!

    Have a fabulous weekend!

  • Reply Bec October 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Ugh, I just love your blog. I even feel naughty visiting it! This looks damn delicious and you have some serious baking skills. Bec x

  • Reply RebeCca Jones October 24, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Thalia your blog is very beautiful and your recipes look amazing. I’m glad I found it. Thanks for your comment on my blog that led me here. X

  • Reply easyfoodsmith October 24, 2014 at 5:41 am

    *Gasp* utterly beautiful!! You are an artist at heart for sure to produce such gorgeous gateau.

  • Reply Regina @ Leelalicious October 24, 2014 at 5:24 am

    Wow…does this look ever decadent! And so typically, elaborate French. I’d love to plant my face on it.

  • Reply Marcie October 24, 2014 at 4:45 am

    I’m amazed how many different methods there are to make choux paste, and every time I try a new way to see if it’s better — I love it so much! This is such an elegant dessert, and it certainly appears that you’ve mastered choux pastry! Gorgeous, Thalia!

  • Reply Gourmet Getaways October 24, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Looks like a huge part of this vanishes too quickly, Thalia! I was just drooling at the photos! I want one stack now, please!

    Gourmet Getaways

  • Reply Michelle @ Flour and Aprons October 24, 2014 at 3:45 am

    That looks amazing – love the mix of flavours and the shape.

  • Reply Gerlinde October 24, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Hi Thalia,

    This is an amazing post and what a recipe, you deserve a gold star.
    I love eclairs and hazelnuts. My mom used to make Windbeutel (bags of wind or eclairs) on her farm in Germany. These were simple eclairs that she filled with freshly whipped cream. Oh, how I loved them, the cream running down my cheek. When she baked them we were not allowed in the kitchen.

  • Reply Maryanne @ the little epicurean October 24, 2014 at 1:58 am

    This looks absolutely amazing! Yay, you’ve conquered choux pastry!

  • Reply Kathleen Siegle October 23, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Thalia! This is gorgeous! I love all the gooey layers. It makes me want to take a bite 🙂

  • Reply Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry October 23, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    What a perfect recipe to look at just before bed time. It is going to make me have a good sleep.

  • Reply Manali @ CookWithManali October 23, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    This looks so elegant Thalia, just like all of your other recipes! 🙂

  • Reply Dedy@Dentist Chef October 23, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Damn delicious and beautifull eclair my friend..
    Again and again i really adore your photography skills!!

  • Reply Caitlin @ teaspoon October 23, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    wow, that is simply stunning! I would hate to bite into it (but would love more than anything to bite into it!). You definitely have some major patience to make that beauty.

  • Reply Traci | Vanilla And Bean October 23, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Very impressive work here, Thalia! Creative, well executed, beautifully presented and photographed… I was laughing when you said you committed the ultimate sin! I did this upon learning about and baking choux paste. It is not forgiving and requires the upmost care and respect every step of the way in its preparation! Your version of paris brest is a show stopper, one to be among pastry’s finest! Standing ovation, Thalia!

  • Reply Leigh Suznovich October 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Oh my goodness, this is just decadent perfection!

  • Reply Amanda - A Cookie Named Desire October 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    This is my first time hearing about this dessert, and I am glad to know of it now. I was actually planning to make something similar, although what I had in mind is certainly not based on any traditional recipes. This gateau, I am guessing, tastes even more beautifully than it looks. I wish I could have a nice large slice!

  • Reply Jill October 23, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Wow! Great job! This looks wonderful!

  • Reply Suzy @ The Mediterranean Dish October 23, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Absolute perfection! Wow! I am going to share a link to this recipe on my site soon. You are talented, my friend!

    • Reply thalia October 23, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks Suzy! x

  • Reply Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ October 23, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Is this real? I really “appreciate” this type of recipes because I know there’s so much work and patience behind. My mum is now looking for a choux pastry recipe, she will be super happy to try out this one! When I’ll finally settle down in my new house I’ll definitely make it myself.

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog October 23, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I just died.

  • Reply Cheryl October 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Simply painfully gorgeous!

  • Reply Emily October 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Never been brave enough myself to try eclairs, but this looks incredible. You are so imaginative and creative!

  • Reply Baby June October 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Holy cow that looks incredible! I love working with choux, it is just such a cool pastry to make. Never seen this variation before. It sounds just wonderful…because the only thing better than a homemade eclair is a homemade stack of ecairs! 😀

  • Reply jen @ Baked by an Introvert October 23, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    This is one stunningly elegant dessert. I’ve worked with choux pastry before but not for anything as elaborate as this Paris Brest. I’m up for the challenge. Pinned!

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar October 23, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Unbelievably stunning. This sounds unreal!

  • Reply lisa @ garlicandzest October 23, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I give you a ton of credit. Both for the sheer dedication and involved nature of this decadent dessert as well as for the choux pastry. I live in South Florida and despite a climate controlled environment, the humidity wreaks havoc and my choux always falls flat. Literally. I’ll just keep my local patisserie on speed dial!

  • Reply nancy October 23, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I have to make this for my next dinner party…looks so beautiful and impressive!!!

  • Reply Maureen | Orgasmic Chef October 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I made a Paris brest years and years ago and I was really lucky because nobody told me it was difficult. I didn’t stress at all and it looked great. Not as good as yours, but I was happy.

  • Reply Alyssa October 23, 2014 at 10:10 am

    It looks like you totally got it right this time! Simply beautiful! I think I feel the way you do about coux pastry as I do about croissants. I’m scared to death of them 😉

  • Reply AIMEE@ twiggstudios October 23, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Wow what a beautiful creation i love Paris brest so i bet this is amazing x

    • Reply thalia October 23, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks Aimee, Glad you liked it x

  • Reply Sam Taylor October 23, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Thalia, this is breathtaking.

    I think choux has a bad reputation for being difficult – it is like riding a bike (no pun intended) once you “get it” you have the skill for life.

    Your photography is so beautiful and your blog inspiring, I love visiting here.

    Sam

  • Reply Chichi October 23, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I love making choux pastry and i totally agree about making it being daunting. Glad you ‘faced your fears’ as my daughter will say. Your tiered eclair is just brilliant. Love your photography , everything. Well done!!!! Pinned!!!

  • Reply Kelly - Life Made Sweeter October 23, 2014 at 8:22 am

    This looks amazing! I’ve never made choux pastry before too and I think you totally nailed it 🙂 So elegant!

  • Reply dianne bibby October 23, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Beautiful photography. Love the flavour combinations and sultry colours. Croquembouche is one of my favourite desserts but the scalded hands make this version very appealing.

  • Reply Johlene @Flavours & Frosting October 23, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Beautiful! I just wanted to take a big bite out of it.. lol 🙂 The flavour combo is like it´s made for me.. love it!

  • Reply Love CompassionateLee October 23, 2014 at 6:24 am

    O my goodness! This recipe looks amazing…I am so glad I found your website. Happy Thursday, Thalia 🙂

  • Reply annie@ciaochowbambina October 23, 2014 at 3:58 am

    Wow Thalia! This is so beautiful and looks so delicious! I’m impressed!

  • Reply Jessica | A Happy food dance October 23, 2014 at 2:07 am

    Your desserts always look so elegant and decadent Thalia – and this one is no exception! Beautiful!

  • Reply Lisa@bakebellissima October 23, 2014 at 12:50 am

    So beautifully done Thalia! Salted caramel mousseline sounds too divine for words… Pinning this to my must try recipe board!

  • Reply judy @ I'm Bored, Let's Go October 22, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Oh my gosh does that look yummy…and beautiful!

  • Reply Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen October 22, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Wow – this is beautiful. I’m not the greatest baker so this would be way over my head – so for now I’m just going to admire your beautiful photos. Great work, Thalia!

  • Reply Summer B October 22, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    This is the most spectacular looking dessert my eyes have ever seen!!!!! I have never attempted chioux pastry — it still does terrify me! But if I ever do — this is what I want to make!

  • Reply April @ Girl Gone Gourmet October 22, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Wow! To be honest, I don’t know if I could do the bike ride OR make this wonderful dessert – I’m impressed with your patience and skills, it looks amazing! I can’t even imagine how wonderful it tastes — great job 🙂

  • Reply Stacey@bake eat repeat October 22, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Wow, just wow. That’s an amazing pastry. I’ve never heard of it before, but it looks incredible!

  • Reply Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice October 22, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    This is so gorgeous, Thalia! You really need to open a bakery! 🙂 I think you did a great job with the choux pastry! And I love the incredible flavors!

  • Reply Monique October 22, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    You outdid yourself..if at all possible.:)

  • Leave a Reply