There's a lot to celebrate about France. The fashion, the nature, the cities... What I love most about France though, besides the people, is the food. Even their so-called fast-food, like pommes frites, tastes of fresh ingredients. Eat them with moules, or mussels, and you'll never allow yourself to eat them alongside burgers ever again. A popular myth is that French food takes hours in the making, and although this is true to certain dishes, it does apply to the entire cuisine. Galettes de blé noir (buckwheat pancakes), for example, take no time at all to prepare, and yet it is one of the most delicious foods my tastebuds have ever encountered. Top them with anything from smoked salmon or goat cheese and you've got yourself a banquet. To me, there's nothing like a crisp buckwheat pancake.
Adapted from Pierre Hermé, Secrets Gourmands
300 g. pâte à choux (recipe further down)
50 g. granulated sugar
50 g. chopped blanched almonds (or hazelnuts)
15 g. soft butter
2.On another baking sheet, form a fourth, slightly thinner circle, with a slightly smaller radius than the largest of the three circles piped previously. I prefer making choquettes with the leftover dough, bake them, and gently place them inside the Paris-Brest, but this is completely optional.
3.Bake both in a 180°C preheated oven, for 40 to 45 minutes for the large one, less for the small "inner tube." (or until both are a nice medium brown, not too pale). After 15 minutes of baking, crack the oven door open using a wooden spoon to let the steam escape. When the cakes are baked, let them cool on a rack. If you're making choquettes, 5 minutes with the oven door closed is enough, followed by 15 minutes of baking with the oven door slightly open.
4.Meanwhile, prepare the cream. When the cakes are cool, cut the larger ring in half, horizontally, using a serrated knife. Pipe a thin layer of cream. Place the "inner tube" on top and pipe more cream over it in a braid, so that a little will stick out the sides of the cake. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners sugar, then place it on top of the cream.