Daring Bakers: Croquembouche
I finished this month’s challenge just barely in time! Granted it’s not the prettiest Daring Bakers final product I’ve ever produced, but it’s done.
This month we had to make a croquembouche, which is basically profiteroles (think sweet little free-form popovers) filled with pudding, then dipped in caramel and stacked on top of each other. You can make a croquembouche with hundreds of profiteroles, but for mine I think I used maybe 20 or 25. Some people decorate theirs with sugar cookies or spun sugar. I was thinking about decorating mine with spun sugar, but then I saw a picture of one decorated like that and it reminded me of when Frodo got trapped in Shelob’s lair and I changed my mind.
This challenge actually wasn’t too hard– it just had a lot of individual parts (as do most DB challenges). First I made the dough for the profiteroles. Then I made the pudding to put inside the profiteroles. Then it all sat in my fridge for a week before I had time to do anything with it. Finally, on Tuesday I had a couple hours free and Kirsten and I put the whole thing together!
I discovered the hard way that you can’t go back and add more dough to a profiterole if you want it to be bigger before you bake it because then it looks funny (which was fine with us because then we ate them). Piping the pudding into the profiteroles was also a bit of a challenge because it was hard for me to grasp how much pudding I was putting into each one and some started to pop and others only had a dribble. Then I let Kirsten do it and she seemed to have a knack for it!
Aren’t her fingernails pretty? I’m jealous.
We hit a slight bump in the road when I realized I had to make the caramel and didn’t have any sugar. Instead I used brown sugar, which made things slightly more difficult. But hey, they all still stuck together into a pyramid (albeit a messy-looking one…) so I won’t complain too much.
I inserted the photo above to stress the importance of having a bowl of ice water handy when making something with hot sugar. I got boiling caramel on my fingers more times that I can count and that bowl was the best decision I made all day. If you look closely, you’ll see my finger in the cold water…. because of that little bowl I escaped this challenge with only one teeny tiny burn.
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.