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What Warm Weather, a Good Beer and a Challenge Creates...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My car's thermometer read 101*F on my way home from work today... yowsa.  I waited last minute to complete the May Daring Bakers challenge. It was to make Pate a Choux and a mounted piece. You'll know what I mean when you look at the photos. The entire challenge was relatively easy. The pastry was simple to make and didn't take long to cool. I had some caramel on hand, so I decided to use that for the filling. It's a goat's milk caramel from a dairy in Northern Vermont - called Fat Toad Farm. Pretty good stuff.

I looked at the other challengers to see what they created for their 'mounted piece'.  I was intrigued by their sugaring skills and decided to try some for myself. Note the cow on top - thanks to my sweet cookie cutters, I was able to celebrate the upcoming June Dairy Month while completing my challenge - all at the same time. My husband and I just laughed.

Here's how to make the Pate a Choux:

3/4 c. water
6 Tbls. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbls. sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 425*F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
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 siftin 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 for a minute to cool slightly. Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and slimy. As you stir, the batter will become dry - looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes (yum). At this point, 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. Pope choux about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high and about 1 inch wide. Using a clean, wet finger - 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.
Bake the choux at 425* until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350* and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.

Once cool - fill with a pastry cream or caramel by poking a whole in the bottom with a pastry bag. My mom got me this awesome piping contraption that makes piping fun. Seriously.

If you want to stack the pate a choux, you will need to create a glue with sugar and lemon juice. Simply melt 1/4 cup of sugar with about 1/2 tsp of lemon juice in a saucepan. Dip the pate a choux in the sugar glue and build anything you'd like. I was pretty excited about the sugar web I was able to create. I've seen people use a whisk that's snipped at the ends. I just used a kabob stick (that's all I had nearby!)


Hilarious right?

9 comments:

Amanda said...

Love the cow. And those puffs look fantastic!

May 26, 2010 at 11:26 PM
Renata said...

Very original! I love the way you piped the puffs!

May 27, 2010 at 12:50 AM
Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Love the cow! Very nicely done. Love it!

May 27, 2010 at 2:18 AM
julie said...

Your cow is great! Having grown up in the dairy state I can appreciate him all the more. Your croquembouche looks delicious as well. Good work!

May 27, 2010 at 7:19 AM
Natalie... said...

Ah wow hehe I love the sugar cow!! So pretty.
Great job on this month challenge!

May 27, 2010 at 9:28 AM
Ruth H. said...

Moo!
Or, in English, awesome!! I love the cow, and that caramel sounds yummy!

May 27, 2010 at 7:36 PM
maybelle's mom said...

Love that cow!

May 27, 2010 at 7:58 PM
Baking Addict said...

Great job on the challenge. Love the cow :)

May 28, 2010 at 5:18 PM
Wolf said...

Mmm, caramel...

Love the cow!

May 31, 2010 at 9:56 PM

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