The Daring Bakers Challenge for the month of May was to make the piece montée//croquembouche, which is a high pyramid/cone made of profiteroles (cream-filled puff pastries) sometimes dipped in chocolate, bound with caramel, and usually decorated with threads of caramel, sugared almonds, chocolate, flowers, or ribbons. Cat from Little Miss Cupcake is hosting this month challenge, and it is mandatory to use pate a choux (Puff pastry) and crème patisserie and final assembly of piece montée should be looks like a mounted structure with some height to it.
At first I was planning to make a sweeter version with mango and coconut milk crème patisserie. I even made custard with mango and coconut milk with agar as solidifying agent. However my puff pastry fell flat and looked like cookies and there was no place to put my mango custard. I felt that they were telling don’t mess with us; we are not interested in carrying any extra weight of mango custard. Frustration of failing at the first attempt resulted even in the dropping of the idea of making the croquembouche. A week passed by, and after seeing lots of good pictures of fellow Daring Bakers croquembouche my mind got interested and started making pate a choux.
The second time got charm, since I got burned thinking of making sweet version, I decided this time I will make savory version. I added grated carrots and finely chopped onion, ginger, red chili powder, cumin powder, black pepper and chaat masala into my cream yogurt filling. Trust me they are really tasty. I reduced the recipe amount into half and used bread flour for pate a choux (puff pastry) with one whole egg and one egg white. Since I made savory version I skipped sugar and added black pepper and salt in the puff pastry.
Even though I wanted to use the recipe given by Cat, I ended up modifying it due to the version change. I didn’t use any glaze. As I used grated carrots and chopped onions ,piping into the puff pastry was out of question. So I made cut in the top of puff pastry and filled the filling with a spoon. It may look crocodile opening the mouth, no problem not pretty but tasty, that is what I want.
Recipe adapted from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.
What you need
Pate a Choux
Water: ¾ cup
Unsalted butter: 3 tablespoon
Salt: ½ teaspoon
Black pepper: ¼ teaspoon
Bread flour: ½ cup
Egg: 2 no (1 whole egg and other egg white)
Ghee/clarified butter: 1 tablespoon
How I made
Pate a choux( Puff pastry)
Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine water, butter, salt and black pepper 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.
Add in the next egg white. Mix everything until incorporated well.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I piped directly from the bag opening without a 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 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 15 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 10 minutes or until you hear hollow sound while tapping the bottom. Remove and brush with ghee and cool it in rack.
If you want you can store it in air tight container overnight.
Grated carrots: 1/3 cup
Red onion: 1/5 cup ( finely chopped)
Ginger: ½ tablespoon( finely chopped)
Salt: ¼ teaspoon or to taste
Yogurt: ½ cup( I used 2% fat)
Heavy whipping cream: ½ cup
Chaat masala: 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin powder: ¼ teaspoon
Chili powder: ¼ teaspoon
Peeled carrot: 2 tablespoon ( for decoration)
Onion: 1 tablespoon (Cut into thin strips for decoration)
Mint leaves: 1 sprig (for decoration)
Hang the yogurt in cheese cloth for an hour to remove the excess water. For better results, try to hang it for overnight in a refrigerator.
In a small bowl mix grated carrot, onion, ginger, black pepper , cumin, chili powder and chat masala and keep aside.
Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then gently fold in yogurt. Transfer the yogurt whipped cream to a bowl and folds in veggies and masala and keep aside.
[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]
Assembly of Piece Montée/croquembouche:
Cut the top of puff pastry into half slit and gradually fill in with filling using a spoon. Continue until entire puff pastry is filled with filling.
Place the piece montée, in a plate and decorate with grated carrots, cut onion and sprig of mint leaves.
Preparation time: Prepare puff pastry: 10 minutes
To pipe: 5 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
For cram filling: 15 minutes
Verdict: Yummy, delicious
Will you make it again: I will?