Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge #40: PIECE MONTÉE

Another month for the Daring Bakers’ challenge, and I have to say I felt sick when I saw the recipe, -*-. Well, most of all I never think about doing this kind of dessert at home 
the croquembouch.  "A croquembouche or croquenbouche is a French cake, a kind of pièce montée often served at weddings, baptisms, and first communions. It is a high cone of profiteroles (choux filled with pastry cream) sometimes dipped in chocolate bound with caramel, and usually decorated with threads of caramel, sugared almonds, chocolate, flowers, or ribbons. They are also often covered in macarons, a small pastry consisting of two layers and a flavored cream or ganache.
The name comes from the French words croque en bouche meaning 'crunch (or munch) in (the) mouth'.The choux buns can also be made with savoury fillings." This is the definition of the croquembouch from the Wikipedia.

So, as the first reason, I'm not in French, and I'm not have a wedding ceremony, haha, I don't see the chance to make it!
Anyway, I find the challenge is an order that I must do (as long as I still want to be the member, hehehe) then I have to find other sources, then I saw that it's more easy to move if you have a pastry as a base (or you can just place the whole PIECE MONTÉE on the plate, but it will make washing the plate more suffer), so I use the Pâte Sucre, which I have it in my fridge, but you can use any recipe that you like.
The other thing that you must have if you want to make the PIECE MONTÉE is the mold, no, I didn't tell you to run out of your home to buy it. You can easily make it using the cardboard and aluminium foil, like the one that I use and the great thing about making it by yourself is you can get the size that you really want ^ ^.

It's not hard to make this kind of dessert, if you can make choux pastry, pastry cream and caramel, but the most important thing to keep in mind is you will have to be very cautious while assemble the PIECE MONTÉE with the caramel, because if the caramel is not not it will solidify but if it's very hot, it can burn your skin. I burn my fingers while making this too, so this is my only warning. Other than this this challenge is a breeze, because my family love to eat the choux pastry and I have done it a hundred time, the point is don't let the color of the pastry fool you, you need the inside of it to be light and airy too, so when the choux pastry is light golden, reduce the temperature and bake for 5-10 minutes more (or open the oven door ajar with a wooden spoon), and check again. If the pastry is light and dry and hold it shape after you taking it out of the oven, it's done!

So, after I have a hard time with a lot of burns, haha, I still think this challenge is great and yes, it's fun! Thank you Cat of Little Miss Cupcake.

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 MONTÉE
Make one -hight 23 cm wide 18 cm

I prepare the mold, by using the cardboard make the cone shape and cover it with foil.

I also made the Pâte Sucre to use as a base, it will be easy to move the PIECE MONTÉE around.

Make Crème Patissiere:


1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar (I reduced the amount to 90g) 
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.
Pour cream into a stainless steel/ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately and until ready to use.

Make Pate a Choux 
(Yield: I make a small size, and I got about 40 pieces)

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.

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. (Note: I use electronic hand mixer, it's easy and quick.)

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.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1 cm open tip  (I make a small size). Pipe choux  3 cm-part in the baking sheets.  Choux should be about 2 cm high about 3cm 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).
Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 13 minutes.

Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 5 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.
Can be stored in a airtight box overnight.

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.

Make Hard Caramel Glaze:
(Note: you might need more than one batch)
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.

May 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge #40: PIECE MONTÉE


  1. มือพองหมดแล้วจ้าพี่สาว

  2. What a beautiful job you've done. It looks ready for a very special occasion.

  3. Wonderful job! I'm glad I'm not the only person to get burned from the toffee! I think your blog is amazing!

  4. ก้อยจ๋า - ใช่เลย ตอนนี้ มือเป็น แผลไปหมดเลย

    Hi, LittleRed
    Thank You.

    Hi, Winnie

    Haha, I think there are a lot of people got burn in this challenge, ^ ^".
    And thank you for your compliment.

  5. Hi Pook,

    Do you think I can make this one day in advance? Must I store in the fridge?

    Thank you.


  6. Hi, LL
    Yes, you can make it in advance, it must be kept in the fridge.

  7. I am totally doing this for my wedding! I see several practice rounds in my near future. Hehehe!



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