Piece Montee (Croquembouche)

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.

Croquembouche or Piece Montee is a beautiful cake, I’ve always wanted to make this but it intimidates me so I keep putting it off. I almost didn’t want to make this month’s DB challenge but reading the recipes over and over convinced me that I can do this. Well I did to make the story short, I just wished that I didn’t do it the last minute ( I made it last night and I’m eating leftovers as I’m writing this post.. lol). I didn’t have problems in making the whole thing except for the assembly, it somehow ended up looking like a mess.

Here’s how I did my Piece Montee:

Pastry Cream:

croquembouche_pastry_cream

tip:  transfer pastry cream into a piping bag before chilling, so it’ll be ready to use when it’s time to assemble the croquembouche

PATE A CHOUX

croquembouche_choux_pastry_1

boil milk, water, butter salt and sugar

croquembouche_choux_pastry_2

sift in flour, mix well

croquembouche_choux_pastry_3

slightly beat eggs in a bowl and add  in 4 stages to the dough…

croquembouche_choux_pastry_4

mix well until the dough is not shiny and slippery anymore and looks like mashed  potato..

croquembouche_choux_pastry_5

this is what it’ll look like after all the eggs have been added..

croquembouche_choux_pastry_6

transfer cooked dough to a piping bag..to make it easy and less messy, put piping bag in a tall glass 

croquembouche_choux_pastry_dough

place on a wet ( or parchment-lined) baking sheet

croquembouche_choux_pastry

and bake until puffed and golden..

ASSEMBLY:

piece_montee_croquembouche_assembly

fill the cooled choux pastries and asssemble,  the caramel is really hot so  be careful..I used a bbq stick for dipping the pastries in the caramel..

piece_montee_croquembouche_1

..fast forward to this my very first  croquembouche ( Piece Montee)  not so nice-looking but the taste is just awesome…I love the crunchy caramel and the caramel flavored pastry cream..it smells so good too! :)

PIECE MONTEE
Crème Patissiere (Half Batch)
1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter
1 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.

Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)
¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 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.

Add egg one at a time; 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.

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 – see video #4 below).

Drizzle with remaining glaze or use ribbons, sugar cookie cut-outs, almonds, flowers, etc. to decorate. Have fun and enjoy! Bon appétit

See other Daring Bakers beautiful Piece Montee at the Daring Kitchen .

♥ Thanks for reading..have a nice day! :)  ♥

9 Responses to "Piece Montee (Croquembouche)"

  1. Lucien Kinningham   February 1, 2012 at 1:10 am

    Cant believe how good this is. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  2. theUngourmet   June 1, 2010 at 8:24 am

    You did such a terrific job with this! I’m loving all of that caramel goodness! ;D

    Reply
  3. Eva   May 31, 2010 at 8:47 am

    wait I’m confused. What don’t you like about it? I think it looks great! (I didn’t even bother trying to build… it was not going to work. ya gotta know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em)

    Reply
  4. kristy   May 29, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Wow Olive, these look stunning! Great job! Hope you’ll have a wonderful weekend.
    Cheers, Kristy

    Reply
  5. Joy   May 28, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Your piping is really good. When I tried cream puffs some of them were a bit lopsided. :D

    Reply
  6. anncoo   May 28, 2010 at 9:20 am

    This is awesome! How I wish I can do this :)

    Reply
  7. Jeannie   May 28, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Looks good! Love those caramel toppings on the choux pastry.

    Reply
  8. MaryMoh   May 28, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Wow…this looks fun to make and the result is so beautiful. It does look intimidating for me to try…haha

    Reply
  9. chef_d   May 27, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Looks delicious Olive! I brought the leftovers to work and we have been munching on them for 2 days :)

    Reply

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