Thursday, May 27, 2010

MAY 2010 - Daring Baker's Challenge : PIECE MONTÉE

Time sure flies when you're having fun! It's the 27th of the month again, and it's Daring Baker's time!!! But first, the mandatory blog checking lines...
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
I had a teacher once in Baking class who actually studied under Chef Nick Malgieri at Peter Kump's and he was all praises for Chef Nick and his style. Fast forward almost 8 years after and I was priveleged to attend The Modern Baker Seminar with Chef Nick here in Manila in 2008! He was exactly as I imagined him, very knowledgeable but at the same time he was funny and in touch with his audience. He's one of the pastry chefs that I truly admire. So when I read this challenge, I felt at ease that this recipe will definitely work, knowing it came from him.
Making pate a choux and creme patissiere wasn't new to me, I have made it a dozen times but assembling a crocquembouche ("crunch in the mouth") was! So it was understandable that I whizzed through baking the cream puffs and making the pastry cream, but the assembly time took a little more time and some burned fingers. I assembled everything in the summer heat which actually lessened the sensation of burnt fingers because I was distracted with wiping my brow several times or else my piece montee would be drowning in a pool of sweat--not a very appetizing scenario! I chose to assemble it with just the caramel glaze without the help of toothpicks or molds--I'm stubborn that way. Half-way through assembling and re-assembling though, I wished I had some sort of a mold because the cream puffs were falling all over themselves so I went crazy with my caramel "glue" and finally had my finished piece montee! If you look closely you can see where I had to apply more than usual, that's where it was falling apart.
I took this picture of my piece montee near the doors leading to the back of the house, I had to keep myself focused and not pick on it to munch on
I filled my cream puffs with Mango creme patissiere
Vanilla Crème Patissiere (Half Batch)
1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch6 Tbsp.
(100 g.) sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla
* I added 1/4 cup of Mango puree to the egg and cornstarch mixture before incorporating the boiling milk
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.
Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)
¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt1 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.
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.
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
I enjoyed making this challenge as much as we enjoyed eating it after the pictures were taken! Thank you Cat for this wonderful challenge!





44 comments:

Karen @ Citrus and Candy said...

Damn I wish it was summer here because mango in a creme patissiere sounds divine. Bookmark that to try when summer rolls around (not for another 6 months though!). :(

Joy said...

That loooks wonderful. I like the cream you made.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Very nicely done! Love it!

Ruth H. said...

You are very brave to work with the caramel glaze! I wasn't up for that challenge - not with a one year old running around my feet! Your croquembouche looks beautiful, and with the mango creme must have tasted divine!!

shelley c. said...

Yummm... that looks so good, and I love mango! Glad your burns weren't too bad, too. :) Awesome job on the challenge.

anchan said...

Mmmm, mango... sounds delicious! It looks wonderful - I hope the burns heal soon!

Mon said...

Mango! Yum! Yeah, like you said I'm glad I wasn't the only one with burnt fingers!

willowbirdbaking said...

Lovely!! The mango does sound amazing!

Little Miss Cupcake said...

Yum, mango cream! Love it!

ap269 said...

Nice job! Hey, you write you like Nick Malgieri. Maybe you want to join the Modern Baker Challenge? We are baking our way through "The Modern Baker" by Nick Malgieri. The challenge started in April, but you could still jump right in... http://modernbakerchallenge.wordpress.com/

chef_d said...

Thanks for the invite ap269 I might just do that :)

Wic said...

it looks and sounds delicious, love the mango.

Elga said...

It will be delicious with mango!

Charlotte said...

oooh.. mango pastry cream! very filipino, and I bet really delicious! :)

Renata said...

Oh... mango creme... never thought about that... sounds really good! If you hadn't mentioned your extra caramel glue, I wouldn't have noticed! Well done!

julie said...

Mango creme sounds so delicious! I may have to try that out my next go round. Nice work!

Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh my mango creme patissiere! What a delicious sounding filling. Great job and you should be VERY proud! :D

pragmaticattic said...

Mmmm, mango pastry cream! Great idea.And I can't believe that you were able to assemble with caramel in warm humid conditions. Kudos! Looks great.

Jeanne said...

How lucky of you to meet Chef Nick! Your finished piece looks beautiful, and the mango cream sounds delicious!

Lara said...

Sounds absolutely delicious the one with the mango cream!! What a great idea!!And your Piece Montée looks gorguous!!

Patty said...

great job - and mango cream? Sounds fantastic!!!

Valerie said...

Gorgeous! Lovely use of the caramel sauce. I kept wanting to snack on mine too. :)

bcswerit said...

mango creme patissiere? wow! that sounds like a definite other way I have to try these! but like Karen @ Citrus and Candy not for another 6 months....darn why didn't I think of that when Queensland had so many mango we didn't know what to do with it! congratulations on your challenge

Linda V said...

Mango, I love mango bet this tasted soooo good. What a great idea.

Baking Addict said...

Great job! Mango is perfect for summer :)

Suzler said...

Your choux puffs are so perfect and delicate & I love the sound of mango cream. Lovely final croquembouche - I had difficulty not picking at mine too. Too tempting!

Mary said...

Mango sounds wonderful--maybe I'll have to try that next. I'll wait till my blisters heal, though! Great challenge!

Deeba PAB said...

mango pastry cream sounds fabulous. I thought of cherry, and then abndoned the idea. Love yours! It's gorgeous!

Mr. Jackhonky said...

Mango Pastry Cream! I love it! The next piece montée I make will have that in it!

I totally wished I had found a mold too, but what are you going to do? Yours looks fab! Congrats!

EMS said...

Looks lovely! Nice job with the challenge!

Marcellina said...

Wow, mango creme patissiere sounds so fresh and summery. It must have been a delicious combination with the caramel! Great wor!k

Anita said...

Yum! Great work. It's winter here, but our humidity still caused havoc.

Ann said...

Aww brilliant, mango pastry cream! Yum...! Thanks for stopping by,I loved this challenge too.

crumbsoflove said...

How lucky that you got to take a class with Nick! Great job. Thanks for visitng my site

Barbara Bakes said...

How cool is it that you meet the chef. Your version sounds delicious.

heatknivesandchemicals said...

I was curious how hard it would be without a mold. Glad you got it to work! I agree with everyone else, mango sounds like a delicious flavor!

culinography said...

I had some challenges w/ slipping puffs, too... looks like you overcame the slippage nicely! This looks beautiful!

Sarah said...

How neat that you've taken a class with the author of this month's recipe. It really was a good one! I struggled with having to use more caramel than I would have liked to ensure the puffs stuck together too. It might have been harder to eat that way but I had no complaints about the taste.

Trisha said...

Congratulations on a wonderful croquembouche!!!!!

bake in paris said...

Mango creme patissiere is likely to bring this dessert to another step higher... It is refreshing and absolutely goes along with the choux!

Sawadee from Bangkok,
Kris

anjelikuh said...

The mango creme filling sounds so summery and delicious, great job! The croquembouche looks beautiful!

Lisa Michelle said...

You had me at mango pastry cream! Your croquembouche looks gorgeous! I used just my fingers to dip the puffs and glue them afterwards, for the glaze. Many burnt fingers. I'll never learn. Beautiful job!

Eat4Fun said...

Terrific looking results with mango pastry cream. Yum! Great job!

French Bean & Coffee Bean said...

Mmm...the puffs remind me a bit of the gougères I used to make in France (which are not at all the same thing as the croquembouche). Kudos to you!

French Bean