Tag Archives: crème patissière

Recipe: Mini and Terribly Inauthentic Croquembouche

Je suis à Paris!  Et alors il faut écrire une recette typiquement Française, n’est pas?

This is another time-travelling post (spooky!), which is always a risk.  I’ll look pretty silly if I perish in a glacier last week and then this post appears, that’s for sure.

Anyway, assuming no glacier perishment, at the time you are reading this, I am probably sleeping the sleep of the just after a day spent cycling around the gardens of Versailles.  So if any of my GCC buddies are reading this, I want you to know that I’m keeping up the good walk while I’m away.  Or at least, past me thinks that future me will be doing so…

I actually made this croquembouche for Bastille Day (mais oui!), so if you pay close attention to the photo, you will notice that the crème patissière is jumping up and down crying “Liberté”, as it attempts to ooze its way out of the profiteroles.  The profiteroles are, of course, all about “Egalité”, because in a world in which I were actually competent at profiteroles, they would all be the same size.  And meanwhile, the caramel is grimly embodying “Fraternité”, as it tries with all its sugary might to hold the entire tower together in brotherly union.

Having stretched that metaphor as far as it can go and probably further (I’m writing this just before leaving Melbourne and I’m not yet packed, so I’m ever so slightly beside myself right now), let us move on to the recipe itself.  This is the first time I have attempted croquembouche, so naturally I took liberties with the recipe.  Of course I did.  But they were very nice liberties – I used Harry Eastwood’s low-fat profiterole recipe, which actually made some of the best profiteroles I’ve managed yet, and I used my almond milk crème patissière (chocolate and vanilla varieties) inside the chou pastry.  And it’s probably a very good thing I’m leaving France in a couple of days, because they will probably kick me out if they find out what I did to their classic wedding cake recipe.

You know what, though?  It tasted *really* good.  Really, really good.  Better than any other croquembouche I’ve tried so far.  I think it’s that amazing crème patissière recipe, to be honest.  The chocolate version, in particular, is to die for.  Also, almond milk reduces the richness just enough that six people really can demolish this entire tower without regretting it too badly afterward…

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Your shopping list

For the crème patissière:

500 ml almond milk + 100ml f0r the chocolate cream
1 vanilla pod
125 g caster sugar100 g egg yolks (from about 5-6 eggs)
40 g custard powder
25 g cocoa butter
100 g dark chocolate, chopped

For the profiteroles

250 ml water
10 g caster sugar1/2 tsp salt
60 g butter
140 g spelt flour
4 eggs

For the toffee

About 300 g sugar – I’m afraid I didn’t measure it.

You will also need at least three piping bags with plain nozzles – one large nozzle and two small.

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Recipe: Almond milk patisserie cream

I’ve only discovered the joys of patisserie cream recently.  In fact, up until about a year ago, I would have told you that I really hated custard.  I grew up with a great uncle who owned an Italian bakery, so I grew up with a strong appreciation for really good bread – and, alas, a complete and utter loathing for cannoli, Italian sponge cakes, and chou pastry with custard in it.  I don’t know what it is about Italian-style custards, but I just can’t stand them.  And believe me, I’ve tried to like them – many, many times.

I’m also not at all keen on English-style custards.  The whole vanilla slice thing makes me shudder.  How can people even eat that?  And I’ve made Portuguese tarts, out of sheerest curiosity, which everyone loved except for me…

So when we were told that we would be making crème patissière at the croissant class I went to last year, my heart sank, because now I, too, would be able to make custards that made me feel vaguely queasy.  But, being the good and obedient student I am, I dutifully made my crème pat, tasted it – and was astonished to discover that it actually tasted good.  A miracle!  Or possibly, just a different recipe. 

Honestly, I don’t know why this recipe works for me, but it really does.  And, having found the one custard recipe in the world that I like, I promptly had to… go and change it.  Yeah, I don’t understand the logic of that, either.  But I have friends who can’t eat dairy, so what can you do?  And, as it turns out, the almond-milk version of this custard is surprisingly good.  Who knew?

Maybe I should pop down the road to my local bakery and give the cannoli another try.

Maybe not.

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Your shopping list

For plain, vanilla pastry cream

500 ml almond milk
1 vanilla pod
125 g caster sugar
100 g egg yolks (from about 5-6 eggs)
40 g custard powder or cornflour (custard powder, not to be confused with custard mix, is basically cornflour with a little yellow colouring anyway.  It thickens the pastry cream and makes it look prettier)
25 g cocoa butter

For light, fruity pastry cream

1 tsp orange flower water
2 tbsp (40 ml) peach schnapps

For passionfruit and chocolate pastry cream

200 ml almond milk (extra)
150 g dark chocolate, chopped
50 g freeze dried passionfruit powder

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