Paris-brest: "Created a hundred years ago to honor a bicycle race, wheel-shaped choux pastry stuffed with hazelnut mousse and hazelnut nougatine, topped with powdered sugar and toasted hazelnuts."
Before Braggadocios Roberts left for Paris, I made one request: "Bring me a Paris-brest." If you've never tasted a Paris-brest, you must. Go to wherever fine Fresh pastries are sold, and buy one and eat one.
I have sampled my fair share of Paris-brests, in America and France, and they've always been individual sized wheels of pastry and hazelnut cream. When Braggadicious returned she carried a large bag filled with a cake-sized box. "Damn it!" I said. "I wanted a Paris-brest, not a wedding cake!" I opened the box and was stunned by what I found. It was a Paris-brest, but a Paris-brest unlike any I had ever seen.
First, it was massive. But it wasn't a traditional wheel-shaped pastry. Rather, it was a curving structure, starting from a center and sloping around and around outward, a creme spiral for the ages. The pastry was delicate and tender with powdered sugar and crushed hazelnuts. The pastry was filled with dollops of incredible hazelnut mousse.
It was one of the finest cremes I've ever tasted.