Happy Belated St. Honore's Day!
|Well here we are, challenge post day again. Time flies when you are slingin' molten hot sugar around your kitchen, pipin' out some delicious cream puffs and rollin' rollin' rollin' the puff pastry, eh?|
As per usual, I'm not going to reiterate what most of you have already read on my extremely talented Daring Baker friend's blogs.. by now, I'm sure you know what this month's challenge is and who it is a tribute to. I'd bet you also probably know that this month's wonderful hostess, and French pastry chef, was Helene from Tartelette with help from an equally amazing pastry chef, Anita of Dessert First. Thank you for choosing an awesome challenge this month!!
Right off the bat, before I take you all down with me into the fiery depths of pastry hell, (just kidding!) I want to say that I thought last month's challenge was exceptional because it taught me how to make crepes and that ridiculously tasty Italian meringue buttercream. Little did I know that this month I'd be learning how to make Pate a Choux and Diplomat Cream.. not to mention, honing my skills at making puff pastry! Fantabulous challenge this month. Fanfarkingtabulous.
Okay raise your hand if you were the first to notice I didn't pipe any whipped cream on!! Mmm hmmm.. as with the rings - I also forgot the whipped cream. Who's the Queen of Dorkdum? I so deserve my crown...
A few Daring Bakers and I went a slightly different route this
And yes, I am fully aware that I'll be receiving my comeuppance, sooner rather than later, for reaping such rewards. Fully. Aware. I'm already envisioning explosions in my kitchen, sunken souffles for the rest of my life and another appearance of the Mothership in the least likely places.
So anyhoo.. I actually did not have many other problems this month. Oh wait.. me with no problems? MUAHAHAHAAAAA!! As if.
First let's start with the puff pastry. Remember those croissants from way back when? Well I do. That process is still fresh in my memory and I did not want to relive anything like it again for quite some time. It's been, what? Seven months since then? Yeah, not long enough yet. I had made up my mind the minute I saw Helene was giving us permission to use store-bought puff pastry that I was going that route. And then someone (I'm sending the evil eye out to whoever it was - even though I can't remember who you are) mentioned that the only puff pastry I can find in these parts is not made with real butter. I was instantly squicked. And now it made sense as that particular store-bought puff pastry leaves a bit of a waxy feeling in your mouth after you eat it. squick! squick! squick!
So, for TWO days, I tried to find a local store that sold another puff pastry that is known for it's use of real butter. As per fakkin' usual, I find out that the bad juju is setting in, and no one sells it any where within a 50 mile radius of me. Fakk. So, what do I do next? I call them at their headquarters to order some to be over-nighted to me. heee! Lazy much?
Did you already forget about my bad juju? The rather rude phone answerer type person told me they'd have to have a sales person call me back. I mentioned that I was in a time constraint and I wanted to order that day so that I'd receive it by Friday. He assured me, in a rather bored tone of voice, that I'd receive a call in an hour. Mmmm hmmm... that was at 11:30 Thursday morning. At noon on SATURDAY, I started my puff pastry. Fakkers never did call me back. But, I'm happy to say that this recipe wasn't nearly as difficult as the croissant recipe was. But then maybe it wasn't so difficult BECAUSE of the croissant recipe. Either or, I made my own and it turned out wonderfully.
Actually my Diplomat cream wasn't runny at all.. this is what happens when you leave this gateau out on your counter when you thought you had put it in the fridge 2 hours earlier. Gah.
Moving along to the Pate a Choux.. do you have ANY idea how long I've wanted to learn how to make Pate a Choux so I could make gougeres (cheese puffs!)? A LONG time! I was quite tickled to be put in this position.. I could conquer whatever fear I had about making it because I had the support of the DB's behind me. Party on! Needless to say, Pate a Choux is extremely easy to make and I'm kickin' myself in the ass for not making it years ago. I doubled the recipe and divided it into the cream puffs for the Gateau St. Honore, cream puffs for Hubbs (dipped in chocolate doncha know ;) ) and lil delectable puffs made with gouda cheese, small dice of ham and snipped chives. WOO! I promptly froze those, as I had enough on my plate for one day. :)
Finally it was the cream.. not even going to say much, because I had no problems and it turned out delicious (Thanks Mary! Thanks Sara! *duck*). Actually better than delicious. I guess I did have one problem with it.. stopping myself from eating all of it with a spoon and the scraps of puff pastry I had baked. I flavored mine with Grand Marnier as I did with the Italian meringue buttercream I made last month. It just hit me.. both were so amazingly good, what would be better than a cake made of Diplomat cream frosted with the Italian meringue buttercream! HAHAHA I crack myself up some times.
At this point, both Mary and Sara had finished their cakes. Mary had left the panic session to go pack for her trip back to NY the next day and Sara left to, apparently, wash the molten hot sugar from her hair and extremities. HAHAHAHAA! That post was hysterical. God love her. I still had Helene by my side, and ohhh was she in for 1,000 questions. And, I have to say - even though this post has already ran past the allotted time and the orchestra is now playing the cut to commercial music, Helene did a FANTASTIC job answering everyone's questions this month. Not only did she help me through every step of the process, but it seemed as if she had her laptop hooked to her side 24/7 the whole month, because I can't recall anyone asking a question and her not answering it within a couple hours. She also provided many visual aids that, in my opinion, really helped quite a few of us envision what our final product should look like. Many thanks, Helene, you rock!
Okay.. they are now motioning to me from the wings to get my ass in gear and get off the f'n stage already. Quickly.. my components all came together nicely, even though I might have kinda forgotten to pipe the 4 circles of choux onto the puff pastry. Hmm... I wondered how I ended up with so much Pate a Choux to make 20 cream puffs for the hubby. Doh. But other than that, and 3 tries at making caramel because apparently St. Honore was looking down on Bril and her perfect sugar, instead of concentrating on ME DAMMIT.. *ahem*
Well as you might expect, the boy was not interested in anything but his chocolate covered cream puffs that night, so the cake went in to work with me the next day and it got RAVE REVIEWS! Everyone loved it. I had a small piece and thought it was just delicious.. which I had wondered about from the beginning because I knew the puff pastry and the Pate a Choux weren't going to be very sweet.. but that is a good thing because the cream & caramel were plenty. The other nice thing I enjoyed about this cake was the different textures. That was really, a nice surprise.
'kay kids, you know the routine by now - start clicking on the Daring Baker list to the right and check out everyone else's amazing posts! You'll be delighted that you did. =)
Ohhh.. sorry! One more thing - a HUGE THANK YOU to all who are so supportive of the Daring Bakers and who want to join up in the ranks! Truly, you guys and gals are amazing Ivonne and I on a daily basis with your interest! As you can see, we are growing steady each month and we look forward to continued growth in the future. But, and there is always a but, due to administrative duties and organization of such a large group of talented bakers, we had to close down membership for June already. But anyone who is interested in joining will be added to the July membership list, just contact Ivonne or I and we'll get you added. Thanks again!