Thursday, May 27, 2010

May Daring Bakers Challenge -- Piece Montee

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.

I was a little intimidated by this challenge at first.  But after thoroughly reading and re-reading the recipe, I was pretty confident.  However, after making the Pate a Choux dough and piping it onto the pans I was a little concerned given that the dough didn't seem to be very thick.

Then, when I peeked through the oven window at the end of the first 10 minutes of baking I was even more nervous, they hadn't puffed very well.  So, I just left them in there for another 5 minutes at the higher temp before turning it down and they puffed PERFECTLY!!

Golden brown and PERFECT!  I went traditional by making vanilla creme, but I have a very, very terrible track record with melted sugar/caramel in past challenges.  So, I opted to go the less-traditional, easier route and glued my piece montee with milk chocolate.  At first it just tumbled down until my sharp husband quickly pointed out that I needed to wait a second or two for the chocolate to set up a little more.  And wala, it came together wonderfully!  I decorated with some sliced strawberries and got a beautiful croquembouche!  And I might say that it tasted delicious too!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this challenge.  How cool is it that I can make cream puffs now?  I thought I was so cool that I decided to make some for my co-workers, but this time I tried coloring the puffs.  But I failed!!!  They did not puff up at all, the dough was super runny.  So, I tried again without coloring the puffs...same thing.  So, either it was a first time luck kind of a deal or it was because my kitchen was so humid from cooking dinner when I tried the 2nd and 3rd time that it didn't work.  Who knows, but I'm about to try again today!  So, wish me luck.