Flip it!
A round pastry filled with praline cream and sliced almonds on top, with powdered sugar sprinkled over it.

Imagine yourself in the early 1900s, in a small town in France. You’re walking down the street, and the aroma of fresh pastries wafts through the air. You follow your nose until you arrive at a quaint bakery, where a line of people is waiting outside. You join the queue, eager to taste what everyone is raving about. Finally, it’s your turn. You step inside, and your eyes widen at the sight of a magnificent pastry that towers above the rest. It’s round, like a bicycle wheel, with a golden brown crust and a fluffy cream filling. The baker calls it “Paris-Brest,” and you can’t wait to sink your teeth into it.

Fast forward to the present day, and Paris-Brest remains one of the most beloved French desserts. Its origins can be traced back to 1891, when a pastry chef named Louis Durand created it in honor of a bicycle race that ran from Paris to Brest and back. The pastry’s circular shape, he reasoned, would be perfect for evoking the shape of a bicycle wheel. And thus, the Paris-Brest was born.

A round pastry filled with praline cream and sliced almonds on top, with powdered sugar sprinkled over it.

The pastry consists of two main components: choux pastry and praline cream. Choux pastry is a type of dough that is used to make many French pastries, including éclairs and profiteroles. It’s made by combining water, butter, flour, and eggs, and the resulting dough is piped into a circular shape before being baked. The praline cream is made by combining pastry cream with praline paste, which is made from ground caramelized nuts. The result is a rich, nutty filling that complements the light, airy texture of the choux pastry.

Making a Paris-Brest requires patience and skill. The choux pastry must be piped into a perfect circle and baked until it’s crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. The praline cream must be whipped to the right consistency and carefully piped into the center of the pastry. The final touch is a sprinkle of powdered sugar and a few toasted almonds on top.

A round pastry filled with praline cream and sliced almonds on top, with powdered sugar sprinkled over it.

But a Paris-Brest is more than just a pastry. It’s a symbol of French culture and culinary excellence. It’s a dessert that evokes a sense of nostalgia and tradition, reminding us of simpler times when people would gather around a table to share a meal and conversation. It’s a dessert that tells a story, of a bicycle race that captured the imagination of a nation and inspired a pastry chef to create something truly special.

Today, Paris-Brest can be found in bakeries and patisseries around the world. It’s a dessert that has transcended its origins and become a global phenomenon. But no matter where you find it, the taste of a well-made Paris-Brest is a testament to the enduring power of French pastry-making. So the next time you take a bite of this iconic dessert, take a moment to savor the flavor and the history behind it.

A round pastry filled with praline cream and sliced almonds on top, with powdered sugar sprinkled over it.

Paris-Brest Recipe: How to Make the Classic French Dessert

Paris-Brest is a classic French pastry that combines choux pastry with a praline cream filling. This dessert has a unique shape, as it is meant to resemble a bicycle wheel, in honor of the Paris-Brest bicycle race that took place in France in the late 1800s. Paris-Brest is a decadent and impressive dessert that is perfect for a special occasion or celebration. Here’s how to make it yourself.

Yield: This recipe makes one large Paris-Brest pastry, which serves 8-10 people.

Prep Time: The prep time for this recipe is about 2 hours, including chilling time.


For the choux pastry:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs

For the praline cream filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup praline paste
  • 1 cup heavy cream

For decoration:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Toasted sliced almonds


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. To make the choux pastry, in a medium-sized saucepan, combine water, butter, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour until it forms a smooth ball. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and is no longer sticky.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the dough to a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, until the dough is smooth and glossy.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the choux pastry to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe a ring of choux pastry, about 10 inches in diameter, onto the prepared baking sheet. Pipe a second ring around the first ring, slightly smaller in size. Repeat until the choux pastry is used up.
  6. Bake the choux pastry for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed. Allow the pastry to cool completely.
  7. To make the praline cream filling, heat the milk in a saucepan until it just begins to steam.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until light and fluffy.
  9. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until well combined.
  10. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and comes to a boil.
  11. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and praline paste until well combined.
  12. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the surface of the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  13. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  14. Fold the whipped cream into the chilled praline cream mixture until well combined.
  15. To assemble the Paris-Brest, slice the cooled choux pastry in half horizontally. Spread the praline cream filling generously over the bottom half of the pastry. Place the top half of the pastry over the filling.
  16. Dust the top of the Paris-Brest with powdered sugar and sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.
  17. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 570
Total Fat: 39g
Saturated Fat: 20g
Cholesterol: 267mg
Sodium: 193mg
Total Carbohydrates: 47g
Dietary Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 27g
Protein: 8g


  • Be sure to let the choux pastry cool completely before slicing it in half and filling it. If the pastry is too warm, the filling may melt and become runny.
  • Praline paste can be found in specialty food stores or online. If you can’t find praline paste, you can make your own by blending toasted almonds and sugar in a food processor until a smooth paste forms.
  • To save time, you can make the choux pastry and praline cream filling a day in advance and assemble the Paris-Brest just before serving.
  • If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a large resealable plastic bag with the corner snipped off to pipe the choux pastry onto the baking sheet.