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 was 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 ~
• 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.
LEMON CRÈME PÂTISSIÈREIngredients:1 Cup (225ml) Whole milk2 Tbsp Cornstarch6 Tbsp (100g) Sugar1 Large egg2 Large egg yolks2 Tbsp (30G) Unsalted butter1 Tsp Natural vanilla extract3/4 Tsp Pure lemon extractMethod: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.
PÂTE A CHOUXYields about 28. Ingredients:3/4 Cup (175ml) Water6 Tbsp (85g) Unsalted butter1/4 Tsp Sea salt1 Tbsp Sugar1 Cup (125g) All-purpose flour4 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.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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).
FILLING THE CHOUX
HARD CARAMEL GLAZE
1 Cup (225g) Sugar
1/2 Tsp Lemon juice
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.
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.
ASSEMBLING THE PIÈCE MONTÉE
For example, if making a conical shape, trace a circle (no bigger than 8 inches) on a piece of parchment to use as a pattern. Then take some of the larger choux and assemble them in the circle for the bottom layer.
Practice 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)