Thursday 27 May 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge May 2010 - Piece montée

The classic piece montée 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.

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.

This recipe has 3 main components: the pate a choux, the crème patisserie, and the glaze used to mount/decorate it.


For the Vanilla Crème Patisserie (Half Batch)
1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.

Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.

Return the remaining milk to boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, continuing whisking.

Continue whisking (this is important – you do not want the eggs to solidify/cook) until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.
Pour cream into a stainless steel/ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately and until ready to use.

Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)

¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

For Egg Wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Preparing batter:

Combine water, butter, salt and sugar 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.
It is at this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs.


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. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top

Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt).


Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in colour, about 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-coloured and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.
Can be stored in an airtight box overnight.


When you are ready to assemble your piece montée, using a plain pastry tip, pierce the bottom of each choux. Fill the choux with pastry cream using either the same tip or a star tip, and place on a paper-lined sheet. Choux can be refrigerated briefly at this point while you make your glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:
8 ounces/200 g. finely chopped chocolate (use the finest quality you can afford as the taste will be quite pronounced; I recommend semi-sweet)

Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Stir at regular intervals to avoid burning. Use the best quality chocolate you can afford. Use immediately.

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  1. I like how you made it pretty..great job!

  2. Beautiful! I am very sure these taste wonderful.

  3. Looks gorgeous... esp the choco glaze. Lovely step-by-step pics.

  4. Beautiful and very tempting piece montee, looks super cute..

  5. Beautiful , i love the stars ont them.

  6. wow..thats great work dear..looks v tempting..hats to u!

  7. Wow looks so yummy..nice presentation too.

  8. Good effort...looks pretty! Have a great weekend!

  9. Wow! This looks so delicious... I love it!

  10. Nice presentation with so many little stars and the flavors vanilla and chocolate..I love your dessert! :-D

  11. Great effort..Looks great..

    Kairali sisters

  12. Nayna,

    Piece montee looks beautiful, i like both dark and white stars

  13. Lovely construction, and the little stars give it a touch of light :-) Congratulations!

  14. Great job dear..looks gorgeous and wonderfully presented.

  15. Wow that looks awesome..Truly gorgeous

  16. elegant presentation! good job :)

  17. What a beautiful presentation. Love the little white stars and chocolate ones too.

  18. wow !! lovely looking montee..never heard and had this b4 new to me..but looks simply yummy and sure it was a hard work...loved the way u presentated its looking very tempting...yum yum

  19. Wow this looks so fabulous.I wouldn't dare to try it but will definitely grab a bite :)

  20. Way to go! It looks great and what's not to like about cream puffs!

  21. rhat looks heavenly... amazing tower...

  22. Gorgeous stars - it's so lovely. Must have been very tasty.


  23. The pyramid looks amazing..quite a bit of more work but worth trying it.

  24. Wow beautiful .. dear . and I adore ur step pictures.. great job.

  25. I love stars! Great work!

  26. Wow, What a Work!!! Love all the Clicks!!! Love that Star Drizzled Choco Mountain!!!!!

  27. this is like a true effort ...lovely recipe :)... thanks for sharing :).. great pics :)

  28. Excellent!! i am sure it is lot of hard work. Keep rocking!!

  29. Wonderful... you have put in a lot of effort in it... and your effords havev come out great... keep it up.. its looking yummy....

  30. Don't know how I missed this post.. looks lovely!!


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