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Paris Brest

The history of Paris Brest

Intense combination of delicious praline mousseline with hazelnut chocolate cream.

The Paris-Brest cake originates from France in the early 20th century. In 1891, a famous cycling race known as the “Paris-Brest-Paris” was established, challenging cyclists to cover the 1,200-kilometer distance between Paris and Brest, and back. This epic long-distance race became a prominent event in the world of cycling and attracted cyclists from various parts of Europe.

In 1910, with the aim of commemorating and drawing more attention to the cycling race, French pastry chef Louis Durand decided to create a special cake. Durand owned a renowned pastry shop in Maisons-Laffitte, a town near Paris. Inspired by the shape of a bicycle wheel and the passion for competition, he designed a unique cake that would reflect the spirit of the “Paris-Brest-Paris” race.

The Paris-Brest cake is characterized by its distinctive round and flat shape resembling a bicycle wheel. Durand designed the cake in this form to pay tribute to the cyclists participating in the grueling race. The symbolic wheel shape also allowed the cake to be easily divided into servings, making it a practical dessert for customers.

Paris Brest

For the preparation of the Paris-Brest cake, Louis Durand used a dough known as “pâte à choux” (choux pastry), which is the same dough used in other French pastries such as éclairs and profiteroles. Choux pastry is light and airy due to its high water content, which creates steam during baking. The traditional filling consists of a delicious praline cream, a mixture of hazelnut cream and caramelized sugar.

The Paris-Brest cake was an instant hit at Louis Durand's pastry shop and quickly became popular among local customers and cycling enthusiasts visiting the region. Its reputation spread rapidly throughout France, and soon other pastry chefs began replicating the recipe in their own shops and restaurants.

Over the years, the Paris-Brest cake has maintained its status as a classic French pastry. While retaining its iconic shape and traditional praline filling, many chefs and pastry makers have created variations and reinterpretations of the original recipe, using different ingredients and techniques. This adaptability has ensured that the Paris-Brest cake remains relevant and appreciated today, both in France and around the world, as a delicious symbol of the rich French gastronomic tradition.