Friday, October 15, 2010

Croquembouche Cooking Course!


As the final gift from my birthday which was in September, I recieved a cooking course for la Croquembouche! This is great because it has been a while since I last did a French recipe.  Croquembouche is a traditional French wedding cake in the shape of a cone, made from Profiteroles, filled with custard and coated with toffe and spun sugar.  There are many different versions and I do look forward to discovering various ways of decorating and profiterole fillings.  However, as Croquembouche translates to "crunch in the mouth" we stuck with the traditional crunchy toffee which contrasted beautifully with the velvety custard.  Here is my step by steps! It will take time to perfect croquembouche; but the results are truly impressive.
  

 Basic Choux Pastry Ingredients
200ml water
2g caster sugar
1g sea salt
100g unsalted butter
175g 00 [bakers] flour
4-5 eggs [approx 60-70g)

Method for Pastry
Place cold water, salt and sugar in a pot; bring to a gentle boil.  Meanwhile cut the butter into 1cm dice cubes and add to pot so butter just melts as water approaches gentle boil (should be around 98 degrees).  At that point add all of the sifted flour.  Mix immediately over low heat with wooden spoon.  Dough will come away from sides of pot and develop a gloss; cook in order to bind for about 2-3 minutes.  You will know roughly when it is glossy, bound and steam is coming off mixture.  Remove from heat, keep stirring for 2 minutes off the heat to let it cool slightly.  A trick to test if it's cool enough is to touch with your fingers and if they don't hurt/burn then it's fine.  This is important otherwise the eggs, which are now to be added, will simply scramble.  Add 1 of the eggs, and incoroporate thoroughly.  Then add another, and incorporate.  Keep going until all eggs are in and the mixture is not to dry or stiff.  A trick to testing if the choux pastry is going okay is to see if it slowly falls off the spoon when held up in the air over the bowl.  The paste should ultimately be a piping consistency ie. hold up on the tray.  Line a tray, pop the paste in a piping bag and start piping into cone shapes.  Use a 8-10mm straight nozzle in the piping bag and water to smooth any mishapen cones.  Bake at 190 degrees in moist oven until fully risen, 8 or so minutes.  When I say moist - spray your oven with some water from a bottle before poping the tray in.  Alternatively pop a small stainless steel bowl full of water at the bottom tray of your oven.  Now you need a dry oven to colour the pastry for another 6 minutes or until golden in colour then drop temperature to 140-150 degrees to dry out inside of pastry, another 10-15 minutes necessary baking time.  Remove and place on cooling rack.  This will make approx 40 profiteroles.

Filled Profiteroles

Ingredients for Crème Patissiere

350mL milk
half vanilla pod or 2g paste
3 egg yolks
80g caster sugar
40g plain flour

Method
Place milk and vanilla in a pot on saucepan and bring up to gentle boil.  Mix together in a seperater bowl, the yolks, sugar and flour.  Whisk the now warm milk onto the yolk mixture in thirds.  Return to a clean pot and bring back to gentle boil mixing continuously with a wooden spoon.  Cook for approx 4 minutes or until thick, glossy and the floury taste diminishes.  The crème patissiere can now be used to fill the cool profiteroles.  Poke a hole in the profiteroles (not too large) with a knife or tip of scissor.  Place crème patissiere in a piping bag without either a thin nozzle or a piping bag with a small hole in it.  Fill them up so that the profiteroles are full, but wipe away excess crème otherwise when the toffee and crème touch the toffee will seize.


Ingredients for Sugar Toffee
200mL water
500g caster sugar
50g glucose (optional)

Method

Place water, sugar and glucose into a pot and then onto stove and boil steadily - you will need to brush down insides of pot with a clean pastry brush and water to prevent crystalizing until it reaches 160c.  Use a sugar thermometer for confirmation of this.  Caramel will be golden incolour.  Use whilst hot/warm.  Wear rubbes gloves, and have a bowl of white water on hand and be very careful.

Assembly of Croquembouche
Proceed to build your tower into a cone shape freestyle or use a cone shaped mould (or even a party hat). Make the base by dipping them in chocolate or the sugar toffee and sticking it to a base around the cone mould or party hat.  Once the toffee/chocolate is set, dip the next profiterole and stick ontop to create the beginnings of a next layer.  Continue to layer using toffee or chocolate as the "glue" and profiteroles as the "bricks." Using a spoon before the caramel is completely set, you can touch lightly the caramel and move it so the sugar spins into decorative whisps.  If not, place two wooden spoons in your sink like a bridge and whip the caramel of them to make stringy thin pieces.  Alternatively again, whip a design on baking paper and pull it off the paper when set; adorn onto croquembouche tower.
Use maybe 3-4 profiteroles per person per portion, and this will dictate the size of your cake.  Croqeumbouche is made to be served and eaten up immediately - enjoy that crunch and the taste.

21 comments:

  1. Nice job, Brittany! You go girl....I'm leery of doing anything more with caramel than making some sauce but look at you! You spun sugar! :)
    ~ingrid

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  2. Profiteroles ae my favorite. This is over the top and all I can say is, "Miam, miam!"
    V

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  3. Wow! I always think these look amazing and too nice to eat. Gorgeous! x

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  4. c'est magnifique je n'ai jamais osé en réaliser
    mais je le tien superbe, bravo
    bonne journée

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  5. It looks gorgeous and delicious! Well done. It must have been so much fun to create!
    Bon week-end,
    Mimi

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  6. Wow, it looks so amazing!
    Adore these photos.
    Lovely regards,

    xx, Jana from petit fournil de paris. :)

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  7. This is such a great course. So delicious looking what you made.

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  8. Wowee, this looks gorgeous!

    Maria
    x

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  9. Wow! What a creation! Very impressive...the spun sugar is fantastic. Can't go wrong with profiteroles! yum.

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  10. What a fabulous birthday gift ~ a cooking classe! ~ I don't think I could be that adventurous ~ You have done well! looks supoerbe!
    ~Dianne~

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  11. How cool is that! I've never tried a croquembouch- they look so intimidating! Your little puffs are very tempting!

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  12. How lucky are you!!!!!! I am very impressed. My last two attempts at choux pastry failed big style so you have my full admiration for this little beauty.

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  13. Oh...wouldn't I have loved to get my greedy little fingers on those puffs...well done Brittany ;o)

    Happy belated B-Day ;o)

    Ciao for now,
    Claudia

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  14. Carine from FranceNovember 2, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    Waouh ! Great job ! Ils sont aussi beaux que dans les patisseries françaises !!

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