your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw
an eight inch (20 cm) circle on the parchment paper to use as a guide when
piping the choux pastry.
In a bowl sift or
whisk together the flour and salt.
butter, milk, water, and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove
from heat and, with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, quickly stir in the flour mixture. Place
your saucepan back over medium-low heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of
the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about 3 minutes). Transfer the dough to
your electric mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), or you can use a hand mixer, and beat on low speed a minute or two
to release the steam from the dough. Once the dough is lukewarm, start adding
the lightly beaten eggs, in small additions, and continue to mix until you have
a smooth thick shiny paste. (You will notice that the dough will separate and
then come together. Continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste that
will fall from a spoon in a thick ribbon).
Transfer the dough
to a large piping bag fitted with a large plain tip (#4). Pipe a 1 inch (2.5
cm) thick ring of dough just inside the 8 inch (20 cm) circle that is drawn on
the parchment paper. Pipe another 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick ring inside the first
ring, making sure the rings of dough are touching. Pipe a final ring of dough on
top, along the center seam between the first two rings of dough.
In a small bowl whisk the egg with the salt. With a pastry brush, brush the
glaze gently on the top and sides of the dough, smoothing the rings of dough.
Sprinkle with the shaved almonds.
Bake for 15
minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees
C). Bake for a further 40-45 minutes or until the
choux pastry is a golden brown color,
puffed, and crisp. (Do not open the oven door while the choux pastry bakes
or it might deflate.) Turn the oven off, leave the oven door slightly ajar, and leave the
choux pastry in the oven
so the shell can further dry out (about 30-45 minutes). Remove from oven and
finish cooling on a wire rack.
In a large mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the whipping
cream with the vanilla extract and sugar until stiff peaks form.
To Assemble: Split
the pastry shell in half horizontally and remove any wet pieces of
dough. Then spoon (or pipe) the whipped cream into the hollow center
of the shell. Place the top half of the pastry shell on the whipped
cream and dust the top of the Paris Brest with powdered
(confectioners or icing) sugar.
Serves about 8-10 people.