Let’s say you were planning on competing in a 1200km endurance bike race through the French countryside and you were deciding what to eat and drink on the ride. What kind of things come to mind? If you’re like me, you’re likely thinking water and Gatorade for fluids and maybe some PowerBars for the energy boost. Now imagine it’s the 19th century. What do you do? Water still works, but PowerBars are about 100 years away. Maybe you could eat some bread? A little fruit? Cheese? Sure, these answers “make sense”, but to the race’s contestants, you would logically just reach for a ring of choux pastry loaded with praline cream. And, really, when you think about, isn’t that what 21st century cyclists, marathon runners and triathletes should adopt, too? The Paris-Brest, named after the race that popularized it, would make a formidable alternative to just about anything. And thanks to La Pâtisserie des Rêves, the world has a reliable source for the finest in wheel-shaped pastries.
True to Rêves’ standard, their Paris-Brest is a little different than the usual. Conventionally, it’s just a circle of choux, like a bicycle wheel, with praline cream. Rêves baked 6 baby puffs together and added some gooey chocolate-praline coulant to the center of each. Not only is it aesthetically superior to the original, it’s tastier and less messy to eat. The addition of the chocolate is absolutely an upgrade, providing a little more dimension to what would otherwise be a hazelnut cream puff. Not that that would be entirely bad. The choux was beautifully prepared, and the crème was smooth and full of flavor, without being overwhelming. And while the hazelnut-chocolate combination basically tasted like Nutella, since it came from Rêves, we can think of it as the luxe version.
If you ever stop by Rêves, you’ll see baby versions of every pastry and monster versions. This is the baby. Imagine 6 full-size puffs fused together and loaded with gobs of crème and chocolate. That’s the monster. It should go without saying that if I ever do a 1200 kilometer bike race, it will be coming along with me. And since I couldn’t really fit it in my biker shorts, I’d probably have to strap on a feedbag. Would it draw stares and laughs from my competitors? Yes. Would they being laughing as I blew past them, fueled by the awesome source of pure energy that is the Paris-Brest? No. There might just be a certain “wisdom of the ancients” here. But instead of divining architectural, philosophic and mathematical insights, we’re rediscovering how to use pastry for its intended purpose: performance enhancement in competitive sports. So on the next occasion someone gives you a hard time for enjoying a little cake, pie, or anything pastry-related, just say, “Hey . . . I’m in training.”
Rêves’ take on the Paris-Brest is a definite winner. Their continued efforts to put valuable spins on classics has paid off yet again. Sadly, I won’t be here in October/November to see if they have any pumpkin creations for their North American friends. I can only imagine what they could do with a pumpkin pie. That would truly be the patisseries de mes rêves.
Oh, and do you ever wish you could have pastry like this hand-delivered to you every morning? Well, you can. Just add Paris Patisseries as a friend on Facebook. You deserve a daily dose of Paris’ finest.