Skip to main content

My first Croquembouche!

I always wanted to try and make a croquembouche (or pièce montée for the French out there) but was afraid to tackle something that seemed so difficult and technical. That is, until I saw an episode of Masterchef Australia: All Stars last week, featuring Adriano Zumbo's recipe. For those who want to try it in its full measure, here's the link: http://www.masterchef.com.au/recipes/croquembouche-2012.htm
Personally, I divided everything by 4, which still yielded about 20 choux puffs, and made some adjustments of my own:


CROQUEMBOUCHE

PUFF PASTRY 
100g butter 
5g sugar 
135ml whole milk 
5g salt 
105ml water 
130g all-purpose flour 
4 eggs

CREME PATISSIERE 
425ml whole milk 
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract 
5 egg yolks 
110g white sugar 
45g corn flour 
45g butter, diced, softened
CARAMEL 
150g white sugar 
50ml water 
65ml corn syrup

Preheat oven to 190°C fan forced. Lightly grease an oven tray.
For the choux pastry: Place butter, sugar, milk, salt and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and using a wooden spoon, quickly beat in the flour. Return to heat and continue beating until mixture comes together and leaves the side of the pan. Keep beating for 1-2 minutes to cook out the flour. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Transfer to a large bowl of a stand mixer. Using stand mixer, beat mixture to release any more heat. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, until all the eggs have been added and mixture is thick and glossy. Beat for a few more minutes, or until thickened.
Spoon the choux pastry batter into a large piping bag fitted with a 1.25-1.5cm round nozzle. Pipe mixture onto trays in mounds 3cm wide and 2cm high, leaving 5cm between each for spreading. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. They should feel firm and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer puffs to wire racks to cool.



For crème patissiere, stir the milk and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat. 
Meanwhile whisk yolks, sugar and corn flour in a bowl until thick and pale. Using electric beaters fitted with whisk attachment, gradually whisk hot milk into the egg mixture. Return the egg mixture to the saucepan. Whisk over a medium heat until custard boils and thickens. Spread over a 4cm deep oven tray to cool rapidly. Cover the surface of the custard with a sheet of baking paper to prevent a skin forming. 
When mixture has cooled to 55°C, transfer it to a large bowl and stir through butter until completely combined. Cover with baking paper. Refrigerate to cool completely.
Spoon cooled crème patissiere into a piping bag with a 5-8mm nozzle. Poke a small hole in the base of each puff and fill with crème patissiere.
For caramel, place sugar and water in a large wide based saucepan or deep frying pan, place over medium heat and cook without boiling until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil without stirring. Add corn syrup, cook until mixture is caramel in color. Remove from heat and dip base of pan in a large bowl of hot water to keep it from hardening.  
Dip the top of each filled puff in a little caramel and place on a tray, forming circle upon circle (I used 6 puffs for the first circle, 5 for the second, 4 for the third, 3 for the fourth and one for the top).


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mandarin Chicken

So much was lost when Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. Lives, homes, jobs,... but also the little things that we hold dear to our hearts: photo albums, treasured heirlooms or beloved recipes. The Times-Picayune collected and published some of the latter that people went looking for in the years that followed Katrina. Mandarin Chicken was one of these recipes.  This clipping was sent to us by my partner's stepmother a few years ago. Since then, we have received nearly a hundred requests to share this recipe. Note: Every Chinese restaurant in New Orleans has its own version of Mandarin sauce. It seems to us that this one needs a few pinches of Chinese five spice in the sauce. Also, it is usually served with crushed peanuts and chopped scallions sprinkled on top.
This recipe comes from Fong's Chinese restaurant in Kenner.


MANDARIN CHICKEN

Egg Batter
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 eggs
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Accent
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking…

Light Delight

For all the health conscious out there (me included, from time to time), here's a dessert, light and airy, that will delight your palate without the guilty feelings. 


NEIGEUX AUX MYRTILLES (BLUEBERRY SNOWCLOUD) For 6 servings
1 cup blueberries 1 pound of fromage blanc (here, you could substitute either plain yogurt, ricotta cheese, or even cream cheese) 2/3 cup white sugar 3 large egg whites 1 teaspoon almond extract 4 gelatin leaves (2 grams each) 1/2 blueberry coulis (see recipe below) sprig of mint (optional)
Blueberry coulis 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) 1/2 cup white sugar
Make coulis by bringing to a boil blueberries and sugar in a saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until blueberries have bursted and mixture thickens. Sieve the coulis to remove blueberry skins and set aside. In a bowl, mix fromage blanc with sugar and almond extract. Place gelatin leaves in a small bowl filled with cold water to soften. In a saucepan, bring to a boil 3 tablespoons of water. Remove from heat. Squee…

Torta Caprese

Last year, one of my coworkers came back from Naples, Italy with an original dessert created on the island of Capri. It is a flourless cake, both rich in flavor and light in texture. It is normally enjoyed "as is", but a little bit of Chantilly cream on the side never hurt anybody!




CAKE
6 oz. (170 g) dark chocolate (I used 64% cocoa)
3/4 cup (160 g) unsalted butter, cut in dice
3 large eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup ground almond meal (I used 125 g)
1 tablespoon amaretto (or any other almond liquor)
Confectioner's (icing) sugar to sprinkle






Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Butter and line an 8-inch wide (20 cm) springform pan  with baking paper.
In a double boiler (or in a microwave oven), melt the chocolate and butter together. Let cool.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar with electric beaters until the mixture turns a pale yelllow and triples in volume.
Using a spatula, gently fold the chocolate mixture, alternating with the ground almond meal and amaretto, into the egg mi…