Christian Cottard, the famous pastry chef in Antibes, unveils his gourmand tricks on his pastry course: here’s the famous Paris-Brest.
Cooking classes are booming on TV: Top Chef, Master Chef and An Almost Perfect Dinner are very successful shows. We all have an irresistible urge to master the art of cooking to treat our friends or our family and collect their congratulations. Yet, it is easy to forget that the best comes in the end and that a good meal must end in a delicious sweet finale, very popular with young and old.
Christian Cottard, a famous pastry chef
The famous pastry chef from Antibes Christian Cottard reveals his tricks and tips during the pastry course he is giving in his new establishment La Closerie. This beautiful old mansion in the center of the fortified town of Antibes, now includes the Pastry shop, the school and the restaurant La Closerie.
Brest» en hommage à la célèbre course cycliste Paris-Brest-Paris.
On the road to Paris-Brest
Welcome onboard Christian Cottard’s tasty world to learn how to make a favorite dessert: the historic delight Paris-Brest. Created in 1910, this dessert of French origin is composed of a crown-shaped choux pastry, filled with a praline mousseline cream, topped with sliced almonds. Following the request of a great journalist, Pierre Giffard, pastry chef Louis Durand invented a pastry round like bicycle wheel. This dessert was baptized “Paris-Brest” in honor of the famous cycling race Paris-Brest-Paris.
Gourmet creations like jewelry
Just two steps away from the Place Charles de Gaulle in Antibes, La Closerie is managed by Andréa, Christian Cottard’s wife. This sublime estate in greenery was built 100 years ago by a chocolatier. It now includes the pastry shp, the pastry school and the restaurant. When you enter the shop, the delicious gourmet creations look like jewelry. The maître artisan Christian Cottard, welcomes people with his impish smile and sparkling eyes on the superb terrace “Le Trèfle”. Under the leadership of this generous and talented chef, we will learn to carry out the superb dessert, the Paris-Brest.
Sharing his passion in a simple way
It is with extreme kindness and in a simple way that the chef shares his passion for pastry. His hands in flour, Christian Cottard explains how to make the choux pastry. We must first boil water, salt, sugar and butter, then remove from heat, add the flour in one step. Return to the heat and dry on low heat and stir with a spatula 2 minutes until a thin film forms at the bottom of the pan. Then knead the dough, slowly add the lightly beaten eggs; wait until the dough is evenly before each addition. Stop mixing when it gets a satin like appearance.
Tips and tricks
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°. Make a crown with the choux dough using a pastry bag to make beautiful homogeneous shapes and then bake at 180 °. During the cooking, Christian Cottard demonstrated the Pastry robot, ideal to mount the egg whites to be used in preparing the praline cream. All through the course Christian Cottard gives away his tips for a successful gourmet achievement: how to fill and turn the pastry bag so that the dough consistently and regularly goes out (important to successfully shape the crown).
After three hours of workshop, our Paris-Brest lies on the plate. Crispy to the bite, it melts under the tongue. Nothing but happiness! Thank you Mr. Cottard.
About Christian Cottard
Since the age of 16, Christian Cottard dedicates a true passion for pastry. At 21, he took night classes and passed a master craftsman in Pastry. He then apprenticed in Menton, in the bakery of his parents. After military service, he worked for 5 years in the United States. Returning to France, he joined different institutions like the restaurant L’Oasis in La Napoule, a group of twelve Relais and Chateaux and worked with Alain Ducasse at the Louis XV in Monaco where they together gained three Michelin stars.
Christian Cottard is installed for more than 20 years in the heart of Antibes, first in the Maison des Thés and since a year, at La Closerie.
Making a Paris-Brest
100 gr milk
40 gr butter
70 gr flour
+/- 2 eggs (100 gr)
1 pinch of salt
Bring the milk to the boil with the butter and salt
Add all of the sifted flour
Dry the paste on low heat
Incorporate the eggs little by little
Using a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip make regular rings, sprinkle with flaked almonds and sugar grains,
Bake in oven at 190 °C, about 25 to 30 minutes
Cool, cut into two horizontal parts
The cream of Paris-Brest:
Emulsify 100 g of praline with 20 grams of liquid cream
Whip 500g of whipping cream sweetened with 60 g of icing sugar
Gently incorporate the cream in half of the praline
Dressage: in the lower part of the ring, make a line of pure praline and draw rosette with the cream Paris-Brest.
Replace the cap, sprinkle with icing sugar.
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