So by now, you should have the 2 essential elements in place,
choux pastry/ pâte à choux/ profiteroles
- the filling for the pastry - crème patisserie
Completing the pastry and the filling:
* Fit a plain pastry tip in the piping bag and fill it with the pastry cream.
* Pierce the bottom of every choux with the pastry tip, and fill the choux with the pastry cream. Place on a silicon mat or baking paper.
* If there is too much of humidity around you, keep the filled choux pastry in the fridge till you make the glaze.
Some tips:To begin with:
* Line your working area with used parchment paper, place your base for the piece montée in the middle, preferably use something you can turn easily, like a turnaround cake plate.
* If you are right handed - keep all your utensils and tools to the right, and similarly left, if you are left handed.
* Most IMPORTANT: the caramel burns like hell even if a drop touches your skin! I am testament to 4 such fingers :) Keep your kitchen sink full of cold water, or keep a bowl of ice cold water near you. A good home remedy to heal burns, rub a slice of raw potato over the burn.
* If you have anything in shape of a cone to model your croquembouche, great! If not, take a round baking pan/ cheesecake mould. This helps in getting a ground round shape.
* If you have enough time, make a sample mock up of the final piece montee, which simply means, make a layout of the end result.
* It would be smart to separate the large choux pastry from the small ones. Try and fill the smaller ones with lesser filling so as to make them lighter which then means they can go on the top!
* It would also be wise to finish dipping the choux into the caramel first and then make another batch of caramel once you have finished dipping all the choux. This will help in having a uniform colour for all the choux pastries.
* The second batch of caramel will be used in gluing all the pieces together and the cooled off version can be used in making sugar decorations.
For the Caramel Glaze: (From Cat's recipe)- has to be made into 2 batches.
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 final GO* At this stage, everything SHOULD have been done: you should have enough already filled choux pastries and the caramel should be hot. You cannot wait for even 5 minutes once you make the caramel, so, time it right.
* Dip the top of each choux pastry into the hot caramel (be careful). Set aside.
* Once you have finished with all the choux pastry, start the assembly process.
* Place the choux next to each other and glue them with the help of the caramel, which means that you will have to dip two opposite sides of the choux to be able to from a circle.
* Continue this till you have completed a round, then start the mounting. When you start assembling on top of each other, you will have to dip the choux on two different sides, one on the downside to glue to the bottom and one opposite side to glue on their neigbours.
* Keep going till you arrive to the conical shape! Et voilà, you have now climbed the highest mountain!!
Unfortunately, since I was alone, I do not have a step by step picture for you. Hopefully I shal have it the next time.
As you will notice in the pictures, I stuck on some Eiffel Tower shaped Moroccan Spice Cookies on the base and the top (like a Christmas tree huh?).