May Daring Bakers Challenge: Cream Puffs

As you may have noticed, I missed the April DB Challenge for many reasons: busy, not finding the ingredients, not having the right equipment.

This month, I was able to make (or attempt to) cream puffs needed to build the real challenge: “The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.”
I’ve made all of the components before, thanks to culinary school. I’ve even made all of the components for various jobs I’ve had either before or after culinary school. I know how to make pate a choux (the batter for the puffs). I know how to make pastry cream. I know how to make caramel. I know how to make chocolate glaze (which in this case was just melted chocolate).

So, I decided that I would make these special. I used some vanilla beans I bought a while back for the pastry cream. I used chocolate from TCHO chocolate, made right here in San Francisco.

But, for some reason (maybe because I was tired from working, or out of practice-I had not made these things for about 1 year-or whatever) these things, when I made them at home, did not turn out too well. The pastry cream was a little lumpy. The puffs did not “puff”.

Nonetheless, I have a pile of chocolate-dipped, vanilla pastry cream-filled cream puffs on a plate and called the challenge complete. Follow the jump to see the recipe and attempt this on your own, and to see the pictures of my croquembouche (and I use the term loosely, because, like I said, it is just a pile, and not a pretty cone shape). Maybe next time I will get a good night’s sleep and I will post another time with better cream puffs or something else made with pate a choux (you can also make eclairs, churros, and other similar items). Continue reading