May 27, 2010

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.

Hello, it's that time of month again!
I was really really REALLY stoked  when I found out what this months challenge was. Been wanting to make a croquembouche for a couple of YEARS now, but never plucked up the kahoonas to try. Another upside to the Daring Bakers, I guess I'm a wee bit more Gryffindor than I thought I was. ;-)

Alright, for those who are out of the loop, a piece montée, or croquembouche is a tower of creampuffs held together by a glaze, usually chocolate or caramel. People in France traditionally make this instead of the usual wedding cake. A professional one is supposed to look like this :

Ok, so mine didn't quite turn out as a tower.
More like a lopsided molehill really.
I made only half the recipe, because there aren't too many people at home and there was NO WAY a full sized croquembouche  was going to be finished, especially considering that this dessert has to be served ASAP. I filled the cream puffs with a coffee pastry cream and for the glaze I used caramel. It looked really pretty up close, but was really difficult to eat. The caramel made it almost impossible to pick an individual cream puff off without either:
a) ripping it in half, OR
b) ripping its immediate downstairs neighbour in half.
I think my pastry cream was a bit too sweet too, would cut down the sugar next time I do this. The best part about making the piece montée was the caramel strands surrounding the cream puffs. Sure, I got burnt a couple of times (OUCH, by the way) but that didn't stop me from flicking sugar like mad all over the thing.
and on myself.
and the kitchen table.
and the floor.
and maybe a little on my kitchen scale.

All in all, I had fun with this challenge. It may have seemed overwhelming in the beginning, but once I broke it down, it was a relatively enjoyable task. Albeit a rather long one. It you'd like to try to make this ( and you should. It's one of those things everyone should try before we get sent off to that big bakery in the sky ) then the recipe and instructions are here on the Daring Kitchen website.
Also, try to check out the creations of the other Daring Bakers on the blogroll. There are some that'll blow your mind!
Till next time, Ciao!


mayuriml said...

OMG Mal. Ofreakin'MG!! I want...

Anonymous said...

It might have been hard to eat, but it's certainly gorgeous! Beautifully done!

Dharm said...

Nicely done!! Has two months gone past already?? Time is getting hard to find my dear... hopefully next month I'll be back. Or maybe its time to hang up my DB mitts...

Anonymous said...

It looks beautiful, your sugar is perfect! You were much smarter than me, I baked the recipe TWICE! We are two home, I have frozen puffs for a year...