Inspired by our great love of culinery adventures and The Great British Bake Off season two, my friend and I (Also called Hannah!) decided to tackle that great monument of choux pastry and french weddings – the Croque – en -Bouche (also spelt croquembouche!). For those who have not yet met this esteemed delicacy, it is quite literally a mound of profiteroles, filled with a creme patissiere (in our case chocolate flavoured) and bound together into what is hopefully a cone by using caramel. After all, its name literally does mean crack in the mouth. Delish.
I started off with visions such as the following floating before my eyeballs:
The other Hannah did eventually manage to talk me down from such dizzying heights but not before showing me this gem of a photo:
So, having decided on a more modest sized croque-en-bouche we found our recipe – we used this one – and got going. Disregard the 35 minutes prep, 15 minutes cooking time frame. Believe me, this sucker is an all day project! Feeling fresh and prepared, having picked up some ingredients at saisburys which we never actually used, we cracked on with the choux pastry. Inside out piping bags, gloopy mixture and over acheiving profiteroles were to await us.
As my scales weren’t working, we had to do a bit of an internet translation job into cups which took a little bit of brain power, but thankfully we suceeded a happily decided to pipe the profiterole idea Bad idea. Slightly too runny mixture had me with a finger up the piping bag nozzle (no euphamisms please ;) as my friend desperately tried to fill the rest of the bag up. Only to realise it was inside out. Whoopsie. not to be deterred we womanfully continued on with the perilous job. With rather fewer than expected, we sat down to discuss interrailing and waited for the grand profiterole reveal. Well, the profiteroles were certainly grande if not quite grand! They had clearly had a bit of a rebellion in the oven and decided that profiterolling wasn’t for them – no they wanted to be yorkshire puddings!
Taking a few deep breaths to calm ourselves, we moved swiftly forward. The making of the creme patissiere was when the internet conversion really to a dislike to us. It translated 30 grams of flour into 4 tablespoons. Unfortunately we were half way through before we decided that might not actually be correct. We rectified the problem in a suitably slap dash way – just add a bit more milk and another egg and it chould all be fine. Maybe even a little bit more chocolate for good measure. It was thankfully and we actually created something quite tasty which had the resemblance of chocolate custard. As we piped it into yorkshire pudding look alikes the piping bag decided to divorce the piping nozzle. Not that I like to interrupt private affairs but waiting a little bit longer wouldn’t have been so bad. We resorted to teaspoons.
Now for the caramel. I think the food gods were against us because the caramel prroved to be the most devilish bit of it all! Who would have thought that melting together a bit of sugar and water would nearly defeat us in the home run. Our first batch wanted to run before it could walk, turning golden well before all the sugar was melted. That said it would probably have been all right if it hadn’t turned on us. The second bacth tried my non-stiring patience to the limitl. It was just so hard to resist the urge to stir (which apparently causes crystalisation); I think I need to invest in some handcuffs!
It worked in the end though!
And so, the profiteroles were assembled, the caramel set and the spung sugar adding just a leetle bit of height. *Drum roll please* TADAAAAAAAA!!!!!!
And so the adventure ended. The kitchen was finally tamed (if not cleared up). And all that was left was devouring. And then. Well, then, there was none.