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 so excited when I found out what this month’s Dearing Bakers challenge was. Finally something that was very unique and used techniques I was not familiar with. I started out the night before by making the pastry cream. This is probably my third time making pastry cream and I’m definitely getting better. Maybe it was just the recipe, but this was the best pastry cream yet. Making pate a choux (for the puffs) was definitely something very new to me. The dough is made over heat, which made it very difficult to keep the eggs from scrambling when you added them. I think I managed pretty well, but my arm got very tired from all the heavy stirring. After the puffs were baked and chilled they were all ready to be filled with the amazing pastry cream. I used a very small tip and a pastry bag and just filled the puffs. Piece of cake! Putting together the Piece Montée was more difficult and required caramel to make them stick together. I have worked with melted sugar before, but I still managed to get burned (it still hurts!). I ended up with a Piece that was a little crooked and not too pretty, but tasted amazing (I guess you could call it an ugly duckling). I decorated with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and some strings of caramel. Thanks to my boyfriend for helping out!
Ready to be filled!
Filling them up!
Filled and ready!