This month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Cat from Little Miss Cupcake.
I can’t tell you how excited and freaked out, I was when I logged into the The Daring Kitchen website to see what the Daring Bakers’ challenge was going to be for the month of May and found out it was going to be Croquembouche.
Some people find macarons intimidating… well, I found this challenge completely and utterly intimidating.
For starters up to this point I had never made Pâte à choux (Choux pastry) and the thought of having to make close to 100 profiteroles in order to create a decent size Croquembouche sent shivers down my spine.
Nonetheless, deep down inside (way deep…) I’ve always wanted to make one, and now thanks to Cat… the perfect opoortunity presented it self.
Up to this point you might be asking yourself why in the world would the title of this post be Pièce Tombée (fallen piece) if the top most pictures look like it’s well put together?
So, I will try to explain my adventures in Croquembouche making using the Cliff Notes version.
- Started making cream puffs about a week and a half ago
- Stored them in freezer
- Made coffee flavored pastry cream
- Thawed puffs and filled them with pastry cream
- Made Caramel Glaze and started putting together the Croquembouche
- Took a couple of pictures Wednesday night ( the two you saw above)
- Had plans to drizzle Croquembouche with a dark chocolate glaze and take final pictures for post the following morning
- Thursday morning ran into pantry looking for chocolate, and realized I had none
- The night before I went to the store and was going to pick some up; decided I shouldn’t because I was certain I had plenty at home
- Dissapointed in my lack of memory I got ready, left for work and decided I would continue working on it once I got home
- Once I got home, I was informed by my husband that when he got home he found a bunch of “those things from the dessert I was working on” on the floor
So there you have it… THE END.
PS: This isn’t the last of battle Croquembouche, you can bet there will be a rematch!
Just in case you want to attempt this little battle yourself below are a few recipes that you might find useful.
Oh, and if you are in need of a little Culinary challenge be sure and visit The Daring Kitchen for great cooking and/or baking adventures.
Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)
¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
For Egg Wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt
Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.
Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly. 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.
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.
Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.
Coffee Crème Patissiere (Half Batch)
1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 Tsp. instant espresso powder disolved in 1 1/2 Tsp. boiling water
Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.
Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.
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. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla and disolved instant espresso powder.
Pour cream into a stainless steel/ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately and until ready to use.
Hard Caramel Glaze
1 cup (225 g.) sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Combine sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with a metal kitchen spoon stirring until the sugar resembles wet sand. Place on medium heat; heat without stirring until sugar starts to melt around the sides of the pan and the center begins to smoke. Begin to stir sugar. Continue heating, stirring occasionally until the sugar is a clear, amber color. Remove from heat immediately; place bottom of pan in ice water to stop the cooking. Use immediately.