Friday, 28 May 2010

Croque en bouche.....aux fraises !!

As usual, I am late but not too late, thanks god !!
This month challenge was " croque en bouche " or a "piece montee".
I made it several times before, and i was used to make it in different shapes, but this time is really different, I changed the flavor,the shape even I changed my original recipe for the "pate a choux" why not? it was the recipe for the daring bakers.

I made the "pate a choux" and gave it the pink color and the strawberry flavor, the cream patissiere was flavored too with a mild strawberry flavor, i topped the croque en bouche with a white chocolate ganache but tinted also with the red color ;))

would like to tell you more about this kind of very french dessert ;))

This month’s challenge recipe is for a Piece Montée, which means literally “mounted piece.” You may know this dessert by another name – Croquembouche (“crunch in the mouth”). the piece montée is the traditional wedding cake here in France. They are often served at baptisms and communions as well.

The classic piece montée is a high pyramid/cone made of profiteroles (cream-filled puff pastries) sometimes dipped in chocolate, bound with caramel, and usually decorated with threads of caramel, sugared almonds, chocolate, flowers, or ribbons. Modern pastry chefs have taken to assembling this dessert in all manners of shapes and sizes.

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 the Vanilla Crème Patissiere (Half Batch)1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk2 Tbsp. cornstarch6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar1 large egg2 large egg yolks2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter1 Tsp. Vanilla
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.
For Chocolate Pastry Cream (Half Batch Recipe):Bring ¼ cup (about 50 cl.) milk to a boil in a small pan; remove from heat and add in 3 ounces (about 80 g.) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, and mix until smooth. Whisk into pastry cream when you add the butter and vanilla.
For Coffee Pastry Cream (Half Batch recipe)Dissolve 1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder in 1 ½ teaspoons boiling water. Whisk into pastry cream with butter and vanilla.

I used the same recipe for the creme patissiere but instead of vanila I added few drops of strwberry flavor.
Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)¾ cup (175 ml.) water6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter¼ Tsp. salt1 Tbsp. sugar1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour4 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.
Chocolate Glaze:8 ounces/200 g. finely chopped chocolate (use the finest quality you can afford as the taste will be quite pronounced; I recommend semi-sweet)
Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Stir at regular intervals to avoid burning. Use the best quality chocolate you can afford. Use immediately.

I used a white chocolate for the glaze and tinted it in red, it was really delicious !!
Hard Caramel Glaze:1 cup (225 g.) sugar½ 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 tinted the caramel in green as a change.
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.

I made some strawberries candies using fondant paste, it was really fun doing it.

I really enjoyed this month challenge, thanks a lot Cat ;))

Ooooops forgot to put the pics :))

Wanted to share with you an old pic for one of the shapes I was used to make with croque en bouche.I should go now to check all the wonderful croque en bouche of the others daring bakers .

See you ;))

Chahira Daoud


  1. Wow, splendid! Your pièce montées look awesome and pretty! great job.



  2. That's a work of art! Your Pièce Montée is gorgeous! I love the color, different from anything so far! Thank you for your lovely comment on mine. I'm sure you have enjoyed doing it as much as I have!

  3. Hi Chahira! Nice to meet you!
    I'm so empressed for your job...wonderfull, truly wonderfull!
    The croquembouche with strawsberry looks so summery and delicious and also the other one with chocolate...beautiful!!! this was a beautiful and amising challenge, wasn't it?

  4. Ciao Chahira ! Your croquembouche are stunning !!! Who had the absolute plesure to eat them ? You are a super baker !

  5. Wooow! I've never seen sooo huge croquembouche. The red color is very beautiful. Great job!



  6. They are both very beautiful. Very impressive.

  7. WOW! Yummy yum yummyyyyyyyyyyyy. That looks divine.


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