Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cream Puffs for the daring kind

Wow, it is amazing how last minute things can get but lucky for me this daring baker's challenge was not only super fun, it was fairly easy (if you discount my 2 tries before this one-and I knew exactly what went wrong both times) and super delicious.

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.

For Cream Cheese-almond butter filling
1/2 cup softened cream cheese (I uesd whipped cream cheese)
1/2 almond butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Mix these ingredients well and then fold in 1/3 cup whipped cream. Chill until it is ready to use

For Nutella-Whipped cream filling

Fold 2/3 cup whipped cream into 1/2 cup Nutella and chill until use

For Pate a Choux (Yield: About 14)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup +2 tbsp water
3 Tbsp Organic unsalted butter
1/8 Tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 egg white+ 1 tbsp water+a pinch salt- whisk lightly, this for brushing the choux so that they get nicely browned

Method
Pre-heat oven to 425F/220C degrees. Line a big 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.

Brush with the egg mixture

Piping
 
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip or use a ziploc and snip off the 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.

Baking
 
Bake the choux at 425F/220C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.

Lower the temperature to 350F/180C 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.


For Chocolate Glaze
 
4 ounces/100 g. finely chopped best quality Dark chocolate(with at least 60% cocoa)

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

To 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 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,dip the berries in chocolate and fill in along the gaps, you may drizzle with remaining glaze and use ribbons,almonds, flowers, etc. to decorate. 


Judegement

Even though I was disappointed that my vegan version failed to puff up nicely, I am glad I gave the original recipe a try- its simplicity puts it on the list of things-I-can-definitely-make-often. The best part one can go crazy on the filling- you can start by browsing the DB page, do check it out and you too go crazy, eh!!

4 comments:

  1. Awesome and tempting puffs..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks yummy!! Choux pastry is amazing ans tastes so great with a filling!!

    ReplyDelete