Banana coconut filled Choux Piece Montée - A Daring Baker's Challenge

Banana coconut filled Choux Piece Montée

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.

 When I heard that this month's Daring Baker's Challenge was going to be involving choux pastry, I got pretty excited as I've always wanted to try to make it. Then I realized we were going to be using them to build a piece montée and became even more excited.

I love doing creative things in the kitchen, but I feel that baking doesn't usually allow me to be very creative as I have to follow all kinds of rules in order for it to come out correctly, hence the reason why I don't do too much baking unless it's for these challenges :D.

Banana coconut filled Choux Piece Montée
For the Vanilla Crème Patissiere (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 color, about 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.
Can be stored in a 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.
Use one of these to top your choux and assemble your piece montée.

Hard Caramel Glaze:
1 cup (225 g.) sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice

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.
 The recipes above are straight from The Daring Kitchen post for this month's challenge. If you would like to check out what the others have done and the recipes please go to The Daring Kitchen website!
Banana coconut filled Choux Piece Montée


pegasuslegend said...

I am not up on all these challenges that I see but this one is by far the most delicious one I have seen yet love that topping! wowow so creative great job! Congrats on whatever this endeavor is :)

Renata said...

Looks very yummy! Gorgeous caramel decoration!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

These look great Rochelle! I took a few liberties (quite a few!) with this month's challenge but I, too was happy that I successfully made the choux pastry!

Mary said...

I made it back :-). Your baking is as good as your cooking. You did a great jib with the challenge. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

TeaLady said...

THAT is beautiful. And so creative to use the different pasty creams in the choux.

This one was a little beyond my time and abililty, maybe next month.

Love the caramel on top.

Jeanne said...

Your sugar art is beautiful! Excellent job on your piece montee, and the flavors sound wonderful!

Lara said...

Your flavour combinations sound just absolutely delicious!! And your sugar work, well I am without words, just stunning!!! Thanks for showing your piece of edible art!! Regards from Spain!

Cocina Savant said...

that is absolutely amazing! you rocked this challenge, everything looks delicious and your flavors are mouth watering. great job!

Anonymous said...

Very nicely done! Love it!

Baking Addict said...

Love the fruity flavours. Amazing spun sugar piece.

Namratha said...

Nice flavor combination, and good structure.

Cristina said...

Your DB Challenge turned out beautiful. Like what you did with the caramel/sugar. Nice fresh touch with the berries and bananas.

bunkycooks said...

I love the caramel at the top! Lovely presentation.

Belinda @zomppa said...

Love the addition of the blueberries - and your spun sugar looks perfect!

Brie: Le Grand Fromage said...

wow, yours looks fantastic - great job! i'll be happy to eat the caramel for you. ;)

sean said...

These look and sound great. A long way above any thing I could cook. Would love to have you cook it for me.

penny aka jeroxie said...

Fantastic. What a great effort!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

This looks gorgeous! I especially love the addition of fruit. Sorry to say you weren't as fond of the caramel as I was...I couldn't get enough of it!