Thursday, May 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Croquembouche

Wow. It's been a while. Like... nearly a year, a while. If I had gotten pregnant the day I posted my last Daring Bakers post, I would have had a 2 month old baby on my lap while I wrote this post. (I'll give us all a moment to collectively shudder at the thought of me with a baby...)

Okay... back? Good. Me too.

Like I was saying, I've been a slack Daring Baker since I moved to Georgia. But that all changes today. And I'm excited about that.

So... Hello, Daring Bakers! Hello, friends who read even when I'm not baking or baking daringly! Hello, extremely ambitious baked goods that I have no plans for consuming but will bake anyway just because it's fun! Let's get right to it.

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.

Being me... I did exactly that. With just a couple of my own modifications, of course. If you want the original recipes, you can find them here.

First... I made the dairy-free version of the pastry cream. With dairy. Does that make any sense to you? Yeah... me neither.

I took a container of banana cream pie yogurt, added some confectioner's sugar to it, and then thickened it with cornstarch. It... worked. That's about all I can say for that.

Next, the dough for the choux pastry comes together really quickly on the stovetop.

After removing it from the heat, adding the eggs makes the dough less like play dough and more like a mashed potato consistency.

Even the piping is not bad. Throw that stuff in a couple of ziploc bags (I'm still out of piping bags. I know... for shame.) and you're good to go.

The baking bit is probably the most nerve-wracking, but luckily Alicia had told me to watch those things and bake them at a lower temperature than the recipe suggests. Mine came out perfectly.

Then it's just a matter of filling the profiteroles with the pastry cream (stuff, in my case) that has been chilled and building the croquembouche.

The building is tough too... My profiteroles were dipped in melted chocolate and then piled high. And... well... then they fell over while they were supposed to be chilling and setting in the refrigerator. As you can see here.

But! That's nothing a different angle with the camera can't fix. ; )

Oh, and the flavor of the things... Well. Hmph. They taste exactly how you'd imagine profiterole filled with thickened banana cream pie yogurt and dipped in chocolate to taste. Odd. Not bad, but not amazing either.

How-ev-er, I am very pleased with the fact that I am now a Daring Baker again. Maybe a struggling one, maybe a half-assed one, but a Daring Baker nonetheless.

It feels good.

But now I'm wicked tired. (Did I mention that I realized Wednesday, May 26th at 2pm that I needed to make this croquembouche post it in the next 10 hours? Well... that might have been how it went down.)


Evan said...

Looks amazing...and daring to boot. Glad you've gone back to the fold.

Ash said...

I've been a slacking Daring Baker too. I'd always remember (sometimes) around the start of the month, but then I think I have plenty of time, then the starting of the month pops up again!!

They turned out great!! How good would those taste if they were filled with Nutella!

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

Nothing like baking with a figuritive gun held to your head :) Good job on the profiteroles btw. Never heard of that dairy free cream though. Different. I'll have to try it one day.

Me! said...

great to see you're back! at least you tried to build it. i knew that would be a lost cause for me so i didn't bother trying. oh and your rye bread looks really good. i was hoping you'd have a comment on how it turned out on this post.

A Canadian Foodie said...

I was shocked at how high and squirrelly the little poof puffed up. I thought they looked outstanding on the cookie sheet... then they grew.... but, once stuck together and drizzles - get outta town.
Well done. Who ate them all?

LittleRed said...

Banana cream pie yogurt sounds delicious!Your puffs look perfect and delicious. I too had sliding problems with the chocolate glaze so I made a pile as high as I dared and snapped a picture (still sitting on the stove) quickly before it toppled from moving it. They were delicious and entirely ruined my week for weight watchers:(

Jeanne said...

Dairy-free cream with dairy sounds amazing! That sounds like a much easier version of pastry cream than the regular dairy one. It's amazing what the right camera angle can do! :)

melissa said...

great job! your puffs had so much puff! awesome!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

I wanna be a daring baker again! I quit for personal reasons a few years ago. But I guess it wouldn't be wise to start again now if I'll have to stop again as soon as my bakery gets going. Hmph, oh well! I'll live vicariously through you. (PS: I didn't feel like copying and pasting "vicariously" into google to check my spelling. Sorry if it's wrong! Haha)

Anita said...

Glad to have you back. The pastry cream was amazing, hope you've had a chance to try some.