27.5.10

Croquembouche


This is a fun dessert.  It can be made in any size.  Many years ago my sister-in-law had it as her wedding cake and that was my first exposure to Croquembouche - "crunch in the mouth".  The last time I made it was for my new millenium New Year's eve party.

This is May's Daring Bakers Challenge.  I don't have a large group that can help me eat this so I have designed mini Croquembouche.  They are single serving desserts.  The baked and unfilled profiteroles can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 2 or 3 months.


The filling can be anything your mind can conceive but it must be firm and not too runny.  You want the little choux puffs to remain crispy.  They are 'glued' together with sugar syrup and then spun sugar embellishes the creation.

I have found my own filling recipe.  The Sicilian profiterole filling sounds so yummy.  A profiterole is the little cream puff.  An arrangement of profiteroles is a croquembouche.  And I am using the paté à choux recipe provided with this challenge.

Note: Candied angelica is very difficult to find.  Angelica is an herb and the stems are candied. They are a neon green in colour and very flavourful. I just omitted it completely.


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.

Sicilian Profiteroles                    from Valvona & Crolla: A Year at an Italian Table

  • 1/4 c angelica
  • 1/4 c candied orange peel
  • 1/4 c candied citron peel
  • Marsala, for soaking
  • 1/2 c whipped cream
  • 1 c fresh ricotta or cream cheese
  • 1 tsp orange-flower water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Caster sugar, to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
  • Icing sugar, to dust

  1. Finely chop all the candied peel, place in a bowl and add enough Marsala to cover. Leave to soak for 1 hour.
  2. Place the cream, ricotta, orange-flower water and vanilla extract in a bowl. Add the soaked peel and Marsala and mix well with a fork. Add caster sugar to taste and a squeeze of lemon juice if necessary.
Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)
¾ cup water
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
For Egg Wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt
Pre-heat oven to 425◦F. 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 cold water, gently smooth out 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:
Grease a baking sheet that has been run under a stream of cold water: the steam produced during baking will help the pastry to rise.
Bake the choux at 425◦F degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 350◦F degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool. You can poke a hole in each one with a skewer and that will allow the steam to be released and they will remain crisper.

Can be stored in a airtight box overnight.

Putting it together:
Fill each little profiterole with the Sicilian cream filling by piping.
Prepare carmelized sugar and keep it melted on low on the stovetop.  Dip each profiterole in the melted sugar and place on the plate. Add each one in the same manner to form a circle.  Add the next row of profiterole on top of the first and make the circle smaller. Repeat until you have made a cone shaped figure. Eventually it will be a cone of profiteroles.
With more of the melted sugar, decorate the cone with strands of melted sugar.  It can be further decorated with dragees, flowers, or whatever suits your fancy.

33 comments:

  1. Sarah, your mini Pièce is cute and your puffs are perfect. The filling sounds delicious! I've already mentioned that I love your "specially designed for puffs" dish!
    Thanks for the lovely comment on my post.

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  2. Beautiful Sarah and the filling does sound scrummy. First "croque" I ever made was a big one for a Christmas party - I had a huge blister on my thumb from spinning sugar. Course now I'd use a whisk or wooden chopsticks, but did I think of that then. Oh no!

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  3. beautiful croquembouche! I especially like the detail you've put into the spun sugar. Way to go on this month's challenge, you rocked it :)

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  4. June> a whisk is brilliant! I am still using a spoon!

    silverrock> thanks for stopping in!

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  5. Beautiful job - your puffs look perfect and your sugar work is so impressive. Awesome job on the challenge!

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  6. What a gorgeous dessert! I have never made these but I know I am going to do so. This is so special.

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  7. Love the swirls and, you will laugh, but I actually bought angelica recently... I remembered it from a dish I had in France and wanted to make it... so I have a few of the stalks still in their plastic case... delicious filling Sarah... so much more interesting than the usual cream... must make... maybe a tiny version... and the caramel loop is delightful!

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  8. I made mine on the smaller side as well, but last minute found others to eat it lol. it looks stunning. well done!

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  9. Shelley> thanks for stopping in. I'll be right over to see yours!

    Kate> it is a special dessert and one I rarely think about. So easy and also not costly.

    Deana> I bought some seeds from a wonderful greenhouse in Winnipeg and will be planting them today! I hope they grow! It is a perrenial so I am crossing my fingers.

    Basht> I'll be right over to check out yours, too. It is a lot of food when you live alone. Good thing about the choux pastry is that it can be frozen.

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  10. Oh, it is just beautiful! Good deal that you found a way to make individual ones, so you can enjoy them without overindulging!

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  11. They're all gorgeous! I love the puffs are stunning and the sugar is simply beautiful - wonderful job on this challenge :)

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  12. Ooh, I remember seeing your croquembouche on the forum and thinking how lovely it was. I adore the sugar decorations - it looks like a good dessert for a fancy Christmas meal.

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  13. Love it, especially your caramel garnish. This is on my wish list bakelist. Well done

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  14. Gorgeous work with the piece montee. Love the caramel embellishments. I have to get confident with spun sugar too. Yours is very pretty! Well done on the challenge!

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  15. Holy cow! This is beautiful. I saw this dessert at Mimi's site too. Love it.

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  16. You are all so kind :) Thanks to all the DBers that stopped in to comment.

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  17. There's a reason I'm not a Daring Baker... you guys are far beyond my level of expertise. Awesome job Sarah!

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  18. Great sugar and amazing puffs. WOWSERS! I could not do this... especially this time of the year... and look at what you accomplished. The long dish makes a pretty pretty presentation.
    :)
    Valerie

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  19. You did a fantastic job on this challenge. I love the caramel designs you made.

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  20. Your mini Croquembouche Sarah looks amazing! I saw your croquembouche on the forum but didn't realise it was yours,and I thought how professional these swirls are!
    Bravo et gros bisous!
    Khadija

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  21. WOW! I love that you 1--didn't burn yourself and 2--made extra caramel thingies on a silicone mat! VERY cool!

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  22. I absolutely love your little serving trays! I so need to find a few.}:P

    My Angelica didn't overwinter, so like you, I have none.}:(

    Great croquembouche!

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  23. The Sicilian filling sounds delicious! I feel like mine was almost a lazy version of it... Great job doing this and figuring out a way to make it work for one without be excessive.

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  24. Oh, just wonderful and so cute! :) Petra

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  25. Beautiful sugar work and the Sicilian pastry cream kind of makes it similar to a cannoli..or shall I say cannolibouche? LOL Beatiful job all around..your final result is a stunner!

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  26. Beautiful! I love the caramel swirls and sicilian filling sounds delicious!:)

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  27. Second post I've seen with these delicacies and I'm just dying to make them now!

    You've inspired me :) Thanks!

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  28. Those look good! I really like the melted sugar patterns!

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  29. looks amazing!
    http://sugarpuffpuff.blogspot.com/
    enjoy!

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