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.


Lauren said...

Gorgeous croquembouche! I loved it too :) Such a delicious challenge!

Renata said...

Your Pièce looks wonderful! Sorry to know that your 2nd and 3rd attemps failed, but I'm sure you'll find the reason and make it again successfully! Well done on your challenge!