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.
Those who know me and my love for coffee would probably guess that my pastry cream had to be coffee. There was no way I was going to miss this challenge. I needed the push to make profiteroles for the second time in my life, the first being when I was in school 25 years ago. Then, it was the best thing we did in our summer vactions, and for once that memory remained alive in my mind all these years! I was SO EXCITED!!
Vanilla beans have helped rid me of any fear of eggy smells in baking, and especially in pastry creams. The coffee pastry cream was absolutely delicious. I made it the previous day, and planned to make the choux the next day. Fate had other plans for me, and I messed up on the choux whereby I added the flour in the beginning. UGH! By the time I began the recipe all over again, and the choux baked, it was almost time to get the kids home. The choux this time were trouble free and behaved most beautifully. I boxed the puffs overnight, refreshed them in a hot oven the next morning, and I was ready to roll! What a fabulous recipe! I don’t see myself using any other in the future.
Gosh, FUN was the word. I enjoyed injecting the puffs with the pastry cream. A wonderful experience to feel them fill up and become heavy in seconds. Putting together the ‘tower’ was a bit of a challenge, and pretty much breathless. With the weather HOT at 44C+ temperatures, and the pastry cream melting, the assembly was very rushed. I dunked the bottoms of the profiteroles into melted chocolate, built up my croquembouche at break-neck speed, and bunged it into the fridge. With time on hand, I did some caramel too from this link I found on Nic’s post on Cherrapeno. I have a long way to master the sugar spinning art, and would love to attempt it again soon. My curls didn’t come out as beautifully as Nic’s, but the caramel was good enough to present the customary crunch in the mouth to the Piece Montée.
This was a beautiful dessert to serve, and was highly appreciated at home. It served up luxury in every bite, and the flavours were absolutely sensational. Thank you Cat for hosting such a wonderful challenge. We LOVED it. Well picked indeed!! Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India