Never in the deepest dreams did I think of putting together a spectacular French wedding cake.Thanks to daring bakers club for making the seemingly impossible bakes,possible.Every daring bake(17 so far) has indeed been a challenge,needs lot of planning ahead,thoroughly understanding the recipe before making any changes to it,allotting good amount of time for implementing the task,that could fail at first attempt but striving till succeeding should be the motto of a daring baker.The posting day is sure excitement in anticipation of fellow daring bakers creative takes on the challenge.I for one ,try not to deviate too much from the given original recipe while giving it a healthy make over,which is the best part of these challenges.
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.
A sure delightful dessert,cannot be reserved exclusively for special occasions,the following recipe has been changed enough to make it often.The Croquembouche,also known as Pièce montée, recipe has 3 main components: the pâte à choux(the puff pastry), the crème patissiere(pastry filling), and the glaze(Sugar or chocolate) used to mount/decorate it.The main building block of the centerpiece are cream filled pate a choux ,mounted in to a conical shape using hot sugar or chocolate glaze as glue.I choose pure dark chocolate for its good benefits and filling is a luscious cream with one of my favorite fruits.And for the decoration,the berries were a fitting juicy garnish.Goes without saying,we loved every bite of this dessert,devoured it all for a dessert course of meal.
Recipe : Dark Chocolate Berry Pièce montée(Croquembouche) with Low fat Mango Cream
The recipe makes a medium piece montee,double the quantities proportionately for a taller piece.
For low fat Mango Crème Patissiere
1 cup reduced fat milk or soy milk or almond milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup unsweetened mango puree or 1 large mango,peeled and pureed
Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.Mix in the mango puree until combined,chill before filling in the choux buns.
For Pate a Choux (Yield: About 18)
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 large Organic or free range eggs
1/3 cup water
3 Tablespoon Organic unsalted butter
1/8 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line a big baking sheets with parchment paper.
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.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip or use a ziploc and snip off the 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 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.
Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 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.
For Chocolate Glaze:
4 ounces/100 g. finely chopped best quality Dark chocolate(with at least 60% cocoa)
Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Stir at regular intervals to avoid burning. Use the best quality chocolate you can afford. Use immediately.
Fresh berries of choice
To 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 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.
When you have finished the design of your piece montée,dip the berries in chocolate and fill in along the gaps, you may drizzle with remaining glaze and use ribbons,almonds, flowers, etc. to decorate.
Explore more Pièce montée at Daring baker's blog roll.