Saturday, May 29, 2010

Daring Baker's Challenge: Piece Montée


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.

FINALLY !!!!

I've always seen croquembouche as something impossible to make, I wanted to make the 'real' thing using zabaione and caramel but I obviously had to surrender to not having enough time in this moment.
I loved Cat's recipe for the puffs. I've used Cat's pastry cream and bittersweet chocolate to assemble my piece montée ( we call this version Prifiterol) and brought it to a kid's party...nothing left.
Thank you Cat for the daring project






RECIPE


Preparation time: You will want to use your puff pastry batter and chocolate glaze or caramel as soon as it has been prepared and as close to serving time as possible. This is not a dessert that stores well and it may be a bit temperamental in humid areas as the glaze needs to harden to hold the choux together. The crème patissiere can be made a couple of days in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to use.

You will need approximately 10 minutes to prepare the puff pastry, 10 minutes to pipe and about 30 minutes to bake each batch. The crème patissiere should take about 10 minutes to cook and then will need to be cooled for at least 6 hours or overnight. The glazes take about 10 minutes to prepare.

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.

Ingredients:

For the Vanilla 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

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.

Pour cream into a stainless steel/ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately and until ready to use.

For Chocolate Pastry Cream (Half Batch Recipe):
Bring ¼ 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 (Half Batch recipe)
Dissolve 1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder in 1 ½ teaspoons boiling water. Whisk into pastry cream with butter and vanilla.

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.

Preparing batter:
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.

Piping:
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.

Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt).

Baking:
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.

Can be stored in a airtight box overnight.

Filling:
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.

Use one of these to top your choux and assemble your piece montée.

Chocolate Glaze:
8 ounces/200 g. finely chopped chocolate (use the finest quality you can afford as the taste will be quite pronounced; I recommend semi-sweet)

Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Stir at regular intervals to avoid burning. Use the best quality chocolate you can afford. Use immediately.

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.

Assembly of your Piece 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 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.

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. 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 – see video #4 below).

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. Have fun and enjoy! Bon appétit!

Additional Information: Here are some videos you may want to take a look at before you get started on your piece montée.

1) Martha Stewart Assembles a Croquembouche:
http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/marthas-famous-croquembouche

2) Assembling croquembouche using the interior of a cylinder:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fq-UgMxe0Y4
3) Asembling Free-standing Croquembouche with Chocolate Glaze:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrIanD5pi9E&feature=related

4) Assembling a Croquembouche with Toothpicks and Cone:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIGaidsM-NI&feature=related

See this google images search of Croquembouche for inspiration:
http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=hp&q=croquembouche&btnG=Sea...

Here’s a link to a dairy-free pate a choux and crème patisserie recipe:
http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/dessertsbeverages/r/creampuffs.htm

16 comments:

BICE said...

Ciao Bella!
sono la prima, è bellissimo,
complimenti.
A presto
Cinzia

BICE said...

Ciao Bella,
è venuto bellissimo, sei una maga!
Quando la apriamo la pasticceria...
:-)

Ago said...

Ed ecccotiiii!!! Finalmente :-D
hai ragione meglio tardi che mai, ma è un piacere vedere la tua montagnetta: anche senza zabaione e caramello, il tuo Piece Montée è bellissimo!!!
Grazie anche per aver scritto la differenza tra profitterole e croquembouche, davvero non ci stavo capendo più niente!
Credo che i bambini siano stati davvero super felici al vedersi di fronte una montagna così...anch'io avrei fatto i salti di gioia! :-D
Come hai fatto per farla stare all'inpiedi ed evitare il tracollo?
Una bellissima sfida Natalia!!!
bacioniii
Ago

Mary said...

It looks wonderful! I'm so glad you managed to get it finished, and that everyone enjoyed it! Did you use white chocolate as well as dark? I like the two colours together!

Valerie said...

Natalia, What a stunning pièce montée! I think the chocolate makes it extra gorgeous because it's a nice contrast to the pastries. :)

elra said...

Oh good grace, you did it. It looks just gorgeous, and glad that you get creative of using chocolate as well. I know how good it tastes just by looking at the photo.

Yummita said...

Wow! It's just beautiful :) I've never seen cocoa profiterols before, very nice :)

Cheers

Yummita

Ivy said...

I love profiteroles and yours look so delicious. Your croquembouche are making me envious because it's been a long time I haven't made a dessert.

The Burmese Mom said...

Very pretty and I am sure it was just as yummy as it looks! Well done!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A beautifl pièce montée! It looks so delicious. Well executed!

Cheers,

Rosa

Leslie said...

What a work of art, Natalia! I wish I was part of this group but half of the months I think you guys are insane and the other months I think you're 10 times better at baking than I am.

Julie said...

Amazing! Beautiful job.

Marcellina said...

What a gorgeous Croquembouche! That must have been some kid's party! Great work!

mangocheeks said...

Extremely impressive. this would be a fantastic centre piece.

Wolf said...

Wow, what a wonderful looking piece! Well done!

Simona said...

Che bello! Posso ben immaginare che non sia avanzata nemmeno una briciola.