Thursday, May 27, 2010

Croquembouche: "pops" & tiny ones

I'm back from Spain! It was awesome, as always. As soon as I got back it was time for Croquembouche.

Here's a caramelized profiterol (croquembouche style) pop!

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.

Pate à Choux
  • 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.

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.

I simply got all my profiteroles filled and caramelized (and drizzled with more caramel) and instead of turning them into a Croquembouche I put them on sticks. I like to put things on sticks. Things look cute on sticks.

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. 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.

Pistachio Crème Patissiere

  • 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
  • 3 Tbsp. pistachio paste
  • a few drops green food coloring (optional)

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.

Besides the pops and just for the fun of it, I did a tiny cronquembouche: an individual serving. I started with those miniature profiteroles...

... filled them with a very small tip. And then it was time to build up. Oh and drizzle with caramel and caramel and more caramel!

Crunch, crunch, crunch.......

48 comments:

SLCFoodie said...

I once had Profiterols in Spain and ever since then I've been made fun of for calling them Profiterols. Everyone corrects me and says, you mean Cream Puffs??! I'm glad to see your recipes for Profiterols :)

Katrina said...

Seeing all the other daring croquembouche all day, I've been waiting for your post knowing you'd have something good. What a fun idea with the pops and I totally adore the little minis. How did you get the stick to stay in place?

FFichiban said...

Welcome back!!! and *squuealllll* those mini ones are sooo cute hee hee

chef_d said...

Pistachio creme patissiere sounds very delicious and looks pretty too. Love the idea of making them croquembouche pops. Very nicely done!

smalltownoven said...

I'm glad your trip to Spain was lovely. So jealous! I haven't used pistachios in quite a long time but I do love them. They added a wonderful color to your pieces! I've always wanted to make a croquembouche!

Kait said...

I've read several croquenmbouche posts today and yours is the first one I came across that kept each choux separate. Very creative.

jose manuel said...

que bonitos te han quedado, se ven estupendos. Un saludo

morgana said...

Sigues siendo la mejor. La más creativa e imaginativa. Te pongan lo que te pongan, tú eres capaz de darle una vuelta de tuerca más. Me encanta cómo funciona esa cabecita tuya...

MeetaK said...

these look so adorable. lovely idea!

Katie said...

Amazing!! Those pops look delectable :D well done! (I almost licked the screen!)

Debora said...

I love the tiny croquembouche! So cute <3

pigpigscorner said...

I love the touch of green! So cute!

sunita said...

You are so clever; love the pops:-)

Natalie said...

oh.. they are precious.... so tiny :))) even tinier than mine turned out...
Great job on the challenge!

CaSaundraLeigh said...

Wow, these look so gourmet! You did a fantastic job :-)

Suzana said...

Então bienvenida! Os chouxs em miniatura são uma perdição e verdinhos assim ficam muito engraçados. :)

Ingrid said...

Those are so cute. I smiled the whole time I read and looked at your photos.
~ingrid

UFRV said...

Preciosos y originales :-)

Swathi said...

They are so cute, I liked your idea, beautiful one

The Blonde Duck said...

You're so talented!

oneordinaryday said...

You are so creative. I agree that things just seem more awesome on a stick or in mini, and you did both! I'm afraid I'd end up eating those minis like popcorn!

Baking Addict said...

The pops are so cute and then I saw the mini ones- even cuter. Love the spun sugar decoration.

Ago said...

Delicious idea...they are so cute! :-D

Chef Dennis said...

OMG....just incredible!!! the pistachio creme looks just too good.... what a beautiful display of baking skills, and what great photo's!
Cheers
Dennis

Vivian - Let's Try These... said...

How clever of you to do pops! They look adorable!

Yummita said...

Mmmm, I love pistachios and these of your are so tiny and lovely :) I like it :))

Cheers
Yummita

Giuky said...

bellissimiiii!complimenti per il tuo blog squisitissimo!

Wolf said...

How adorable! Especially the tiny ones!

Charlotte said...

I love your tiny croquembouche, not just that, I love how you make all desserts so tiny! :) It's so amusing and I'm sure yummy!

Sara said...

Love these! The pops are totally adorable and the pistachio pastry cream sounds absolutely delicious!

vanillasugar said...

oh rita the small ones are adorable and all i can think of is how hard they must have been to pipe (well i have no tools for piping).
so creative. you always do the best of the best.

Dragon said...

Another great challenge! I always like to see your interpretations. :)

Lisa Michelle said...

Rita..I love your corquembouche pops and the miniature croquembouche is just incredible. A whole croquembouche in one bite! Love how teeny tiny you got those puffs! However..I'm madly in love with the pistachio creme patisserie! Good thing I wasn't there..it never would have made it into the puffs lol

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

Very creative!!

Carmen

Lucy said...

What a great idea by turning them into pops - makes a change from all the massive croquembouche towers. And your mini tower is just so adorable!

Chic Cookies said...

Love them! I posted a link on my column (ediblecrafts.craftgossip.com)

Lucie said...

So cute! Love the idea of a pistachio creme patissiere!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I remember as a child I made cream puffs with my grandmother (first time I ever made them) and we filled them with pistachio pudding (not homemade) for St. Patrick's Day and I brought them to school to share with the class. Just seeing your first photo of the filled puffs brought me back for a moment.

Trust you to do something completely different with the presentation! ;-)

Ivy said...

OH MY GOSH! These are amazing!

CookiePie said...

Beautiful!!! And I love the pistachio!

Cakebrain said...

I love how the caramelized sugar looks all spinny crazy on the tops like hair. You just need little eyes and a nose...

Jannett said...

wonderful idea putting them on a stick...so cute.... :)

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

That's so clever Rita! I love how you put the toffee around it! :D

Sweet and Savory said...

This is impressive.

Eliana said...

Your little pops look super cute :)

Emily said...

Welcome back from Spain!

I admire you so much. You have skills! I wish I had your awesome pastry skills.

These profiterols are so cute and tiny! And pistachio happens to be my most favorite flavor ever.

Yuki said...

Ooh the picture looked so yummy...
ooh i want to try it!!!
thanks

Andrea said...

They look absolutely delightful!