Thursday, May 27, 2010

CROQUEMBOUCHE - THE DARING BAKERS


When seeing the date on my calender, I had to curse. I could not believe that in less than a day it would be the 27th of May and that all members of the Daring Bakers' would be blogging about their latest creation, yet I still had not started making this month's challenge. Once again, I did not manage to start baking in advance for the event and had to run at the last minute in order to be able to blog about it on time. I cannot believe that the 27th has already arrived...

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge wa
s hosted by Cat of "Little Miss Cupcake". Cat challenged everyone to make a "Piece Montée", or "Croquembouche", based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

Well, to tell you the truth, for this very challenge I was not the least stressed by the work that was awaiting nor apprehensive about the idea of putting together a "Pièce Montée" because making choux pastry (remember my DB post about "Chocolate Éclairs"), pastry cream or caramel was nothing new to me. Most Daring Bakers members have already made one or the other during the course of the last months.

I thought to myself "Finely, this recipe is not going to cause any trouble". Well, as incredible as it might seem
, I did come across a very annoying problem while making my cream puff shells. My first batch was a total flop. The cream puff shells looked so sad and were flat like omelets. this made me slightly panick and question my capacities as a baker. it was one of those moments when you lose all self-confidence and blame yourself for the bad results. I mean, boy were they fugly and totally unusable!

After doing a little research, I realized that if they had this saggy shape it was due to the
fact that the pastry was far too wet. So, for my second attempt at making cream puff shells I decided to use smaller eggs (53g instead of 63g), thus incorporating less liquid to the choux pastry. My second batch was just perfect. The cream puff shells came out all puffy and looked very pretty. Phew!

The cream puffs shells rose beautifully, were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They tasted of butter and reminded me of popovers. As I wanted to give a summery flavor to my cream puffs, I chose to make lemon pastry cream. Needless to say that the pastry cream was delightfully fresh and irresistibly silky smooth. In order to stick the cream puffs together, I opted for the caramel glaze wich added a layer of oomph to the whole dessert and gave a dramatic look to the pièce montée.

I wish to thanks Cat for having chosen that awesome treat and for giving me the opportunity to prove to myself that I have the skills to put together such a festive dessert. I will certainly make this goodie very soon again!
~Pièce Montée or Croquembouche ~

Equipment required:
• Several baking sheets
• Parchment paper
• A whisk
• A pastry brush (for the egg wash)
• A pastry bag and tip (a plain tip or no tip is best for piping the puff pastry; you can use a plain or star tip to fill the puff pastry with the cream)
• A flat surface such as a baking sheet or cake board/stand on which to assemble your piece montée
• Some of the items you may want to use to decorate your piece montée include ribbons, Jordan almonds, fresh flowers, sugar cookie cut-outs, chocolates, etc.

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LEMON CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE

Ingredients:
1 Cup (225ml) Whole milk
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
6 Tbsp (100g) Sugar
1 Large egg
2 Large egg yolks
2 Tbsp (30G) Unsalted butter
1 Tsp Natural vanilla extract
3/4 Tsp Pure lemon extract

Method:
1. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.
2. Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture.
3. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.
4. Return the remaining milk to boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, continuing whisking. Continue whisking (this is important – you do not want the eggs to solidify/cook) until the cream thickens and comes to a boil.
5. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla. Pour cream into a stainless steel/ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface.
6. Chill immediately and until ready to use.

For Chocolate Pastry Cream:
Bring 1/4 cup (about 50 cl.) milk to a boil in a small pan; remove from heat and add in 3 ounces (about 80 g.) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, and mix until smooth. Whisk into pastry cream when you add the butter and vanilla.
For Coffee Pastry Cream:
Dissolve 1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder in 1 ½ teaspoons boiling water. Whisk into pastry cream with butter and vanilla.

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PÂTE A CHOUX

Yields about 28.

Ingredients:
3/4 Cup (175ml) Water
6 Tbsp (85g) Unsalted butter
1/4 Tsp Sea salt
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Cup (125g) All-purpose flour
4 Large eggs (~53g)
1 Egg & A pinch of salt (for egg wash)

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 220◦C (425° F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally.
3. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.
4. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
5. Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly.
6. Add 1 egg (The batter will appear loose and shiny). As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes. It is at this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs.
7. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I piped directly from the bag opening without a tip). Pipe choux about 1 inch-part in the baking sheets (Choux should be about 1 inch high about 1 inch wide). Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top.
8. Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt).
9. Bake the choux at 220◦C (425° F) until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.
10. Lower the temperature to 180◦ C (350° F) and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more.
11. Remove to a rack and cool.

Remarks:

They can be stored in a airtight box overnight.

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FILLING THE CHOUX

Method:
1. When you are ready to assemble your piece montée, using a plain pastry tip, pierce the bottom of each choux. Fill the choux with pastry cream using either the same tip or a star tip, and place on a paper-lined sheet (Choux can be refrigerated briefly at this point while you make your glaze).

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HARD CARAMEL GLAZE

Ingredients:

1 Cup (225g) Sugar
1/2 Tsp Lemon juice

Method:

1. Combine sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with a metal kitchen spoon stirring until the sugar resembles wet sand.
2. Place on medium heat; heat without stirring until sugar starts to melt around the sides of the pan and the center begins to smoke.
3. Begin to stir sugar. Continue heating, stirring occasionally until the sugar is a clear, amber color.
4. Remove from heat immediately; place bottom of pan in ice water to stop the cooking. Use immediately.

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ASSEMBLING THE PIÈCE MONTÉE

You may want to lay out your unfilled, unglazed choux in a practice design to get a feel for how to assemble the final dessert.
For example, if making a conical shape, trace a circle (no bigger than 8 inches) on a piece of parchmen
t to use as a pattern. Then take some of the larger choux and assemble them in the circle for the bottom layer.
Pr
actice seeing which pieces fit together best.

Method:
1. Once you are ready to assemble your piece montée, dip the top of each choux in your glaze (careful it may be still hot!), and start assembling on your cake board/plate/sheet.
2. Continue dipping and adding choux in levels using the glaze to hold them together as you build up. (You may want to use toothpicks to hold them in place).
3. When you have finished the design of your piece montée, you may drizzle with remaining glaze or use ribbons, sugar cookie cut-outs, almonds, flowers, etc. to decorate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteurs et blogueurs francophones!

C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur le blog mentionné ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française.

Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)
Chez Vibi de "La Casserole Carrée" (Canada)

131 comments:

  1. Coucou Rosa,
    J'attendais ton post et comme d'habitude tu nous en mets plein la vue :)
    Bizzz !

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  2. So beautiful! Love the le
    on cream. One day Im making this.

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  3. Wow! I'm really impressed! It's just perfect! :-o
    Bravo!

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  4. Just gorgeous Rosa - they look perfect. I have always wanted to make this! Goodness knows I love eating them! :)

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  5. Once I saw a huge Croquembouche on a wedding I was such in awe of the delicate layers of the puff pastry... then I learned how to do puff pastry , I realised from there on it was not too difficult to make... great photos rosa.

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  6. I only realized it was due today after I wrote on FB, it was already late. Glad you had fun, the result is gorgeous Rosa.

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  7. Ohmigod!! Those look gorgeous!!!

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  8. Great job as usual. I am glad you were able to do it on time. I was in a time crunch too but managed to do it over the weekend.

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  9. I just love that picture with the filling and as always your pics are so beautiful.

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  10. Hi Rosa,
    What a fantastic job you have done!!
    Your lemon cream must be so refreshing and delicious!! My mouth is watering just for looking at your photos...
    Good look for the next challenge and don't be afraid because, you are surely a great baker!!
    Love,
    Lia.

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  11. So gorgeous!!! Great job figuring out your error and how to fix it! It can often be frustrating when something goes wrong if you don't know why...but SO rewarding when you are able to fix it and figure it out! congrats!

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  12. Your cream puffs do look puffy and tall! And, the lemon cream sounds delicious!

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  13. Gorgeous croquembouche.. the lemon cream sounds delicious and looks great...

    Pavithra
    www.dishesfrommykitchen.com

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  14. Oh my God Rosa! This look fantastic! absolutely beauty! and the pictures georgeous!! Love it Rosa! xx gloria

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  15. Just beautiful Rosa, and so whimsical. You did beautifully on the challenge!

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  16. Magnifique cette pièce montée!!
    Un délice!!!

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  17. I am drooling, this looks amazing!! And I am thrilled you used the lemon cream, I bet that was just delicious. :)

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  18. toujours aussi terrible !
    j'admire ! bel après-midi à toi... ici... jardinières à reposer et un peu de ménage ! ihihihihi ! mais je voudrais bien crocheter un peu !!!!

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  19. Rosa obviously you are at your best when you are under pressure! Your creations are always excellent I hope that you have some kind of event this summer so I can come and taste these incredible treats!

    Merci!

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  20. superb rosa, i wouldnt even dare to do such a thing, simply gorgeous...

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  21. wieder was gelernt. Das habe ich nicht gewusst, dass die Feuchtigkeit der grossen Eier eine so grosse Rolle spielt !
    Danke und liebe Grüsse

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  22. A beautiful job Rosa. We can certainly tell where your talents lie.

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  23. Great job, & u're a great baker :)

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  24. Your pièce montée looks magical, right out of a foodie fairytale. And you are right, the puffs really did taste like popovers! Great job at picking yourself up after the first batch didn't turn out. We've all been there. :)

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  25. What beautiful lemony puffs! Perfect for late spring. Can I come over?

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  26. You are brave. This is something I always wanted to try, but at this point, I'm chicken. Yours looks beautiful.

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  27. I attended a three days professional pastry class about choux pastry...I know a lot about it, but it continue to scare me! Eheheh...it always seems like it has some surprise for you...

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  28. je suis impressionnee par la qualite de ta recette..et celle de suatres..quel travail dartiste

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  29. Rosa,
    Your croquembouche looks really awesome.

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  30. Wow, I just knew you'd do a fantastic job but it's even more beautiful that I could have imagined. Sadly, my choux pastry was a flop but I wasn't aware that the mixture should be drier. I'd even taken extra large eggs and din't have time to repeat the challenge. Luckily we have you to keep the standard high :-)

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  31. Beautiful! I made it once in school.. oh man was it hard!!

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  32. Just like spring, your Croquembouche is a joyful sight with extra deliciousness intact :)

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  33. what a beautiful job. congrats.

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  34. quel travail! ta pate à choux a l'air PARFAITE!

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  35. C'est superbe!! Mais quel challenge, un sacré travail! Parfaitement réussi! Bravo. Bises. Marina

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  36. Je te pique un de ces petits choux, c'est trop gourmand!
    Bises, bonne fin de soirée

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  37. Croquembouches takes my breath away...what bang-up job you did!

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  38. Love the lemon cream :) Great job Rosa, looks amazing!

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  39. J'aime bien l'idée d'utiliser différents parfums pour fourrer les choux de ton croquembouche.

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  40. Gorgeous! Lemon pastry cream and that dark caramel sound like a perfect combination! I usually leave these thing till the last minute too, but wouldn't have been able to produce such a lovely dessert as you!

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  41. Lovely! Good for you for troubleshooting the choux and coming up with really great ones the second time around.

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  42. this is enchanting, rosa! very nicely done, start to finish.

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  43. That looks so delicious! I've always wanted to try this dessert!

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  44. Great flavors! I bet the taste of the caramel and the lemon cream was wonderful.

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  45. I was just describing Croquembouche to someone the other day, them followed it up by saying ... I never made one. I should have stayed a DBer! ;) With the pate choux, I had the same issue when I made profiteroles a few weeks ago. But, you've jumped the hurdle and done a great job here! Looks wonderful. :) Cheers!

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  46. la crème pâtissière au citron est vraiment une excellente idée, je suis jalouse de ne pas y avoir pensé :)
    c'est superbe Rosa, j'adore la couleur de ton caramel, on a juste envie de passer le doigt dessus :)

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  47. These look amazing. I wish I had one right now. I love the idea of lemon cream and then the caramel outside..yummy!

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  48. I wish I could just pluck one of those from my computer screen. The gooey caramel is irresistible.

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  49. You got me, totally, Rosa. Flowers and lemon cream, you are an artist!

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  50. This is right up my alley. Love lemon cream.

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  51. The lemon pastry cream looks amazing oozing out the creme puffs. Goodness!! My first batch was too wet, too. Anyway, you did a fantastic job.

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  52. Looks fantastic! You've got the caramel to drizzle perfectly and love the sound of the lemon creme

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  53. The combination of lemon pastry cream with this beautiful dessert looks fabulous! I know what you mean about time getting away from you. I seem to have that as a recurring problem...lol... Love the looks of this!

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  54. That's amazing - my grandma made perfect croquembouche, just she never made single cake, only as buns filled with cream and seasoned with sugar powder. Amazing taste from childhood.
    Sadly I'm able to make buns only - never succeed with cream :(

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  55. lovely flavors rosa! lemon is perfect!

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  56. Wow...lemon and caramel...I've to try it!
    Beautiful piece montèe...I love above all, spin the sugar! :-D
    This challenge was wonderfull ;-)
    Kisses
    Ago

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  57. Such a pretty croquembouche! Love the sound of your lemony filling :-)

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  58. You overcame the difficulties heroically. That looks amazing!

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  59. Très beau ton croquembouche!!
    Et que dire du fourrage au citron, un parfum que j'aurais aimé certainemnt!!

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  60. Your croquembouche is absolutely gorgeous, Rosa! Great idea using smaller eggs!

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  61. Your cream puffs certainly look perfect. Glad to hear the second batch turned out so well.

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  62. Beautiful recipe Rosa the pictures are amazing and I love the caramel topping and lemon creme - wonderful!

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  63. Stunning! And so lovely with lemon pastry cream!

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  64. Beautiful! Beautiful! And the lemon cream sounds so good!

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  65. Encore un challenge reussi on ditait. Mais quelle patience! Bravo!

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  66. Your croquembouche is nothing short of perfection, especially with lemon cream.

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  67. Rosa that looks amazing. Your pics really bring it to life. The lemon pastry cream sounds yummy too. I was lucky after reading all the comments on the DB forum I used smaller eggs and was able to get the choux pastry right first time. I really surprised myself in making this. Never thought I could do it!

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  68. what a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL creation!!!
    gorgeous dessert, very decadent :)

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  69. Hi Rosa, it looks beautiful. Nice job :)

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  70. Love that picture of the open puff with the cream oozing out - great job on this month's challenge, Rosa!

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  71. Bon , j'avoue , j'ai pas tout compris mais je mange tes recettes avec les yeux !!!! ;-)))))Bon wweek-end !

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  72. I really loved your piece montee and your photos, your are a real artist ;))

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  73. Great job, Rosa! Very interesting and helpful info about the pate a choux. I was taught that you have to add eggs just until the batter has a certain viscosity and look to it--sometimes you need more and sometimes less.
    I love the lemon cream--so refreshing! I have a batch of lemon curd in the freezer and I was just this close to using that folded together with whipped cream as a filling.

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  74. Absolutely luscious, Rosa. The photo with the pastry cream is so tempting! So lovely!

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  75. Your photos are wonderful. :) beautiful dessert.

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  76. Your croquembouche looks lovely, Rosa! Very elegant!

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  77. How divine with lemon pastry cream. Gorgeous!

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  78. Gorgeous Pièce Montée! The lemon filling sounds delicious! Love your photos!

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  79. Your music rocks. The dessert looks good too although I am still quite stuck on strawberries and rhubarb as it is the beginning of summer holiday weekend here.

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  80. Ciao Rosa ! It looks so wonderful and you made it in time !! I did not ...

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  81. Oh Rosa, I can only dream of assembling such beauty!

    I've attempted croquembouche but once in my life. It totally flopped and I never looked back. Hopefully, I will get the spirit to try again...

    Thank you so much for sharing...

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  82. I wish I could take a bite! Looks gorgeous.

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  83. Oh wow, these croquembouche look so divine! Yumm... Good job, Rosa! Hope you'll have a wonderful weekend!
    Cheers, Kristy

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  84. Beautiful! I love the lemon cream, too!!

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  85. Tu as superbement reussi ton dessert et merci de partager le petit truc au sujet de la pâte trop mouillée!
    sinon j'aime aussi l'idée d'ajouter le parfum de citron a la crème pâtissière!

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  86. Rosa...I don't even have to take a bite out of these puffs to know that you have indeed proven your skills...to us and more importantly to yourself.
    Great on you for continually participating in these very interesting challenges I keep witnessing. Hopefully, one day soon...I'll do the same.
    Thank you very much for your dedication.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

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  87. you make it all sound so easy Rosa! your photos are beautiful and I love how the sticky caramel topping looks.

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  88. Très beau mini croquembouche, ta crème pâtissière me plaît beaucoup^, mais j'aurais bien vu un caramel de lavande avec(un peu tôt sans doute..) ...

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  89. wow..that look great...!!! It looks too hard to attempt

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  90. wow I love those filling, just the prefect cream! ;)

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  91. wow thiks is a supser chic dessert, lover it, defitely a delightful croquembouche!

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  92. THese looks scrumptious...
    Love all your photos...I love your Lemny pastry cream.... I didn't got the chance to do the challenge yet... I have to work on it tomorrow... oh well time is flying fast.

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  93. I don't know how you got it together so quickly to create these gorgeous croquembouche. Good thing you figured out how to solve the floppy dough problem. Great work Rosa, love the idea of the lemon pastry cream. xo

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  94. this looks fantastic! Great job!

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  95. je laisse la piece montée gateau trop "mariage" à mon gout mais je te prends la creme au citron !! bravo pour tes photos !! Pierre

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  96. This is the best piece montée I have seen in blogs !!
    Congratulations !!!!

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  97. Magnifique cette pièce-montée Rosa, digne d'une vraie professionnelle! J'aime beaucoup le citron dans la crème pâtissière, cela doit donner beaucoup de peps à ta réalisation.

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  98. I just came across your blog and just wanted to let you know that it is fabulous. You have a new follower.

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  99. Pas besoin de traduction pour savoir que le défi est relevé sans problème!
    Je ne me suis jamais lancée dans une telle réalisation. Bravo!

    Bises et bonne semaine

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  100. I felt there was a lack of flavor in the choux filling and I believe your lemon creme patissiere is the answer to it :-)

    Beautiful alluring pictures, as usual!

    Sawadee from Bangkok,
    Kris

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  101. I LOVE the lemon creme patisserie and your croquembouche is gorgeous!Ce Magnifique!

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  102. Your tower certainly does look dramatic. I just want to reach in and pluck off that top puff. Well done.

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  103. ton dessert est tres réussi! Je trouve que les choux ont l'air particulièrement moelleux!

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  104. My godness, je suis sur le tutu...Quel boulot Rosa. Je n'ai encore jamais osé. J'adore l'idée de la crème pâtissière au citron.

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  105. Gorgeous! I love the combo of lemon and caramel...sounds totally delicious!

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  106. I've loved seeing all these croquembouche pics from the Daring Bakers this month! It's such a stunning dessert, like a sugary sculpture!

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  107. Looks perfect!!!What a beautiful blog.

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  108. Oh my goodness these look delicious! Thanks so much for the post!

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  109. Look so lively and cheerful in these bright colors. Beautifully done and wonderful photos! :)

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  110. Gorgeous. I love your lemon cream, too!

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  111. PIXIE CAKES: I'd love to comment on your blog, but unfortunately I can't... Thanks for your kind words!

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  112. Vraiment splendide! Et ça a l'air presque simple à faire, quel talent!

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  113. wow, that looks so delicious!

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  114. Rosa, so nice...love the lemon filled cream, so delicate indeed :-)

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  115. Quel travail! bravo! merci pour ces jolies photos!!!

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  116. I have always swooned over croquembouche ... there is just something about those towers of sweet bliss that almost make me faint every time I see them! Yours look fantastic. What a gorgeous version of this classic dessert!

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  117. hé bien tu t'es éclaté avec cette pièce monté les choux on l'air parfait , et le caramel n'en palons pas , bravo
    bises et bonne journée

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  118. Hello,


    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
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    Best regards,

    Vincent
    petitchef.com

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  119. VINCENT: Thanks for passing by and for the kind comment! I have already added my blog to the Petitchef family klong ago ;-)...

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  120. Looks fantastic,love the contrasting colorful flowers :D

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  121. This HAS to be one of my favorite desserts. Thank you for sharing your recipe!!!

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  122. Ohhh c'est super joli , et puis avec la crème pâtissière citronnée , c'est bien gourmand ^^

    *** Bises et belle journée Rosa

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  123. I love croquembouche. They're not that popular in the US, not sure if people are intimidated by them, but they are fun to make and just delicious. Your version sounds exceptional.

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