Thursday, May 27, 2010
Piece Montée - Daring Bakers May 2010
Challenge one CHECK! I joined the Daring Baker Challenge and this was my very first task; it is called a “Piece Montée”. The person who chose this challenge is Cat from
This challenge has 3 parts to it, the pate a choux, the crème patissiere, and the glaze used to mount & decorate it. A few days before the actual baking of this dessert I started to practice the pate a choux. My first try was less then stellar; the dough was runny and produced flat little disks that could be used to knock people out…not what I was looking for. The 2nd time was much better since I definitely put a little more *love* into the dough. I made sure to stir stir stir and bake off a lot of the water before adding in the eggs and VOILA! I made perfect little hollow puffs.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE PATE A CHOUX
¾ cup water
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
+ 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice (my addition, can be left out)
DIRECTIONS FOR THE PATE A CHOUX
Over a medium bring your butter, sugar, salt and water to a simmer, add in your flour & pumpkin pie spice and stir until a ball of dough forms. From this point you will want to stir off excess water for approximately 4 minutes. Just keep moving that dough all around. Next remove from heat and let it cool down for about 5 minutes.
Next is when you will need your muscle, add into your dough each egg one at a time. At first it will be super slippery and well “weird” but then it will all come together again – this is when you add in you next egg etc.etc. Once all the eggs are combined with your dough you can pipe 1 x 1 inch dots on to a parchment lined baking sheet. They will puff out and up so be sure to space them out at least 1 inch apart.
Bake this little dudes and dudettes at 425 for 10 minutes, then lower the temp to 350 and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Once nicely puffed and browned turn off the heat but let the puffs sit in the oven. This will help the insides dry out nicely.
And now, might I introduce you to “The PUFF”.
The next part is to make a pastry cream, I went with a plain vanilla cream.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE VANILLA PASTRY CREAM
2 cups milk
1/4 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS FOR THE PASTRY CREAM
In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don' t curdle or scorch on the bottom.
When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming ( I used a plastic grocery bag). Refrigerate until chilled before using
THE REST OF THE STORY STARTS HERE…
I used a pastry bag and large tip in order to pipe the pastries with cream. Fill your pastry bag, insert into pastry and sqquuuueeeze till that little puff has a heart beat. Once all my puffs where filled I put them back in the refrigerator.
HERE IS THE PLEASE DON’T BURN YOUR HAND ON THIS STUFF PART OF THE STORY..
Now we have to make the glue that holds this ship together, the hard caramel glaze. This is when you need to be calm and have a general idea of the shape you want and how large your Piece Montée is going to be. Once this stuff is ready it is assembly time and once you make a decision to where a piece should go you have only seconds to change it!
INGREDIENTS FOR HARD CARAMEL GLAZE
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
DIRECTIONS FOR THE HARD CARAMEL GLAZE
Combine sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with a metal kitchen spoon stirring until the sugar resembles wet sand. Place on medium heat; heat without stirring until sugar starts to melt around the sides of the pan and the center begins to smoke. Begin to stir sugar. Continue heating, stirring occasionally until the sugar is a clear, amber color. Remove from heat immediately; place bottom of pan in ice water to stop the cooking. Use immediately!
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.
It was tough & very challenging…it will not be on my list of things to make again unless forced by cute children or bunny rabbits..oh yah or kittens, add kittens to the list!