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croquem-buzz (DB)

May 27, 2010

The May 2010 Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a croquembouche based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

You’d think that I would have made one by now, right?

I mean everyone who was anyone whipped out their bandaids and spun toffee around a tower of choux when the masterchef craze hit last year. Surely I would have been amongst them.

Plus I had one for my 21st birthday cake (true story – I still hadn’t adapted to eating “cake” at that stage). I must have been tempted to see if it was really all that hard.

But I hadn’t. And I wasn’t. And in truth, I was scared stiff because toffee & I? We’re only just getting to know each other.

In fact, it wasn’t until I made those deliciously fragrant lapsang souchong & smoked salt caramels earlier this year that I truly began to make peace with caramel.

And so here we are.

Or rather, there I was. With a mound of light, fluffy, perfectly puffed and golden choux puffs in front of me (courtesy the latest daring baker’s challenge recipe) ready for the filling.

And a mound of doubt. And a packet of bandaids.

But first! The filling! (And I’ve stuck the recipe at the bottom of this post in case you’re curious). A lucious, rich-rich-rich chestnut honey creme patissiere made with just 10% of the 2.5kg of chestnut honey I bought on my latest food-spending-spree at Simon Johnson. And can I say, “wow”.

That honey packs a fragrant punch like you would absolutely not believe – I’m still reeling from its nutty, earthy flavour.

And what better to showcase my chestnut honey choux than in a croquem…buzz! (Again with the play on words! I apologise for those of you allergic to puns. It’s a weakness of mine. I find them punny. *groan*)

Quick tip for the burn-averse, use chopsticks to dip your choux into the caramel and then to stack. If they get too caramel-coated & sticky, switch for a new pair. Look mum! No burns!

I used the ever-so-cute fondant bees to adorn my hive-shaped croquembouche, and also tacked on a couple of white fondant hexagons for that “honeycomb” effect before covering the lot in wisps of spun sugar, which caused no end of grief as I carted the lot up north to Hornsby for my very-best-friend Miss Shiny’s birthday party!

Poor croquem-buzz didn’t stand a chance.

Plastic knives were handed out, and were dutifully discarded as the crowd opted for an “all hands in” approach instead.

Joy! And clapping! And a very tired boy eating slivers of green icing at the end of the night whilst surveying the detritus-after-the-party.

Happy Birthday Miss Shiny!


chestnut honey creme patissiere
 
Ingredients
  • 250ml chestnut honey (or substitute your own favourite, but cut down on the sugar)
  • 400ml milk
  • 600ml thickened cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3tbsp cornflour
  • 1tbsp vanilla essence
How to make it
  1. Step by step instructions with pictures below

how to do it:

1. Tip your chestnut honey into a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until it has been reduced by half. It will be rich and syrupy and will make your whole house smell like Christmas covered in honey.

2. Meanwhile, heat your cream, milk & vanilla in a much larger saucepan or pot until it just boils, then turn off the heat and stir your reduced honey in.

3. Add the cornflour to your egg yolks and whisk like a mad-person until they come together in a lovely, pale orange / deep yellow paste.

4. Carefully (carefully!) tip a bit of your milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk bravely until it comes together, then add the milk mixture in a continuous stream whilst whisking. I find the easiest way to do this is with an electric mixer. Or to borrow a set of hands. Whatever you have is fine. (There is no judgment for additional limbs here on onebitemore).

5. Put the lot back into your large saucepan over a low heat and whisk again whilst it heats. It will thicken and come together into a lovely gloopy custard, I promise, but not immediately. When it does, though (and it will happen rather suddenly, and often when you least expect) get that whisking arm going again and keep it going until the mix is uniformly thick and custardy.

6. Take your creme patissiere (hoorah!) off the heat, transfer it into a container and press a piece of cling film onto its surface so that it doesn’t form a skin. Cool until you need to use it.


  • #1
    May 27th, 2010

    Awww those bees are too adorable, your croquem-buzz (lol terrible) looks great!

  • #2
    May 27th, 2010

    This is just too awesommmmee and sooo cuutteee!! Go Asian-style with chopsticks! Ingenious hee hee

  • #3
    May 27th, 2010

    Wow, that’s one cute and tasty looking beehive! Love the way you decorated it!

  • #4
    May 27th, 2010

    Love your croquem-buzz, that little bees are fantastic!

  • #5
    May 27th, 2010

    Bzz bzz bzz. Squee! I can’t get over how adorable those bees are! Also, gotta love a good demolition job when it comes to desserts.

  • #6
    May 27th, 2010

    This looks great Suze! Still loving those cute bees 😀

  • #7
    May 27th, 2010

    LOVE the bees, and really like the idea of a honey creme patissiere (I’m already plotting a bunch of recipes for it).

  • #8
    May 27th, 2010

    Squeeeee! I love it! It’s seriously the cutest croquembouche ever. Plus that chestnut honey filling sounds amazing. And it’s ok, I’m a sucker for puns too 😉

  • #9
    May 27th, 2010

    Absolutely adorable! *buzz buzz*

  • #10
    May 27th, 2010

    Great job! Your pièce montée is beautiful. I love the cute decorations…

    My post will be up tomorrow.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • #11
    May 27th, 2010

    Your croquem-buzz is wonderful! My favourite of all the croquembouches. It’s such a cute idea.

  • #12
    Ellie
    May 27th, 2010

    I haven’t waiting for your post after seeing the bees! Very clever idea. Very well done, shez!

  • #13
    May 27th, 2010

    hahaha I love your croquembuzz shez. They’re so cute with your little buzzing bees. I’m also glad to hear that you’ve finally befriend the caramel. Hope to see more caramel featured in your future creations.

  • #14
    May 27th, 2010

    The buzzy bees really take the croquembouche to the next level. And you did good with the caramel, it all looks fabulous!

  • #15
    May 27th, 2010

    What a super sweet idea, now I can not see how it did not look like a beehive to me while I was making it.

  • #16
    May 27th, 2010

    Chestnut and honey sound AMAZING in choux! Yay bees!

  • #17
    May 27th, 2010

    love this one. I think you did such a good job getting creative.

  • #18
    May 27th, 2010

    Aww love the bees! They are so adorable 🙂 Great work Shez!

  • #19
    May 27th, 2010

    But what a good idea.
    Love this beehive, and the bees are so cute !

    Your croquembouche is probably my favorite one of all !
    Original & really nice !

    BRAVO !

    Löu.

  • #20
    May 27th, 2010

    Your croquembuzz is just too adorable! Love this idea! Glad you liked the challenge!

  • #21
    May 27th, 2010

    This is so adorable – I saw it when you first posted it on the forum and thought it looked amazing. Great work!

  • #22
    May 28th, 2010

    Ahhh, so that’s what the fondant bees were for 🙂 Super-cute!

  • #23
    May 28th, 2010

    Suuupercute the fondant bees!! I already thought when I saw it on the DB, that has to be a birthday girl-piece montée!! And since I love (my greatest passion) making decorated cakes I fell in love with your little bees right away 😉 And a very beautiful Piece Montée by the way!!
    Regards from Spain!!

  • #24
    May 28th, 2010

    I absolutely LOVE the bees! <3 Sooo chute ^^
    I also love the idea of using honey on the pastry cream… I definitely have to try it!
    Nice job

  • #25
    May 28th, 2010

    I love your croquembouche. The fondant bees are adorable and the presentation is so fun. I wouldn’t want to eat it it’s so great.

  • #26
    May 28th, 2010

    i love it. the theme you chose is so summery and the bees so cute… probably the only time in my life i wouldn’t hide from bees lol

  • #27
    May 28th, 2010

    I love your creativity! What a fun way to inject your personality into the challenge! Your croquembuzz is beautiful – and sounds yummy to boot!

  • #28
    May 28th, 2010

    Oh, I love it! What a fabulous and unique idea for the croquembuzz :). Such a beautiful job you did!

  • #29
    May 28th, 2010

    Your croquembuzz is too cute for words! What a fantastic job, and your chestnut honey creme patissiere sounds absolutely amazing!!

  • #30
    May 28th, 2010

    SO cute. Perfect choux, adorable bees, amazingly put together – awesome all around!!

  • #31
    May 28th, 2010

    Oh my gosh. That’s so clever and cute!!!! I love the bees but I don’t think I could ever bring myself to eat one.

  • #32
    May 29th, 2010

    Amazing. I stacked about 18 cream puffs and… mine fell over. Here you stacked a full recipe, added fondant and spun sugar, AND you made this for a birthday party?! You’re my new hero.

    Also… this is my first time on your blog and it’s absolutely charming. *Added to reader*

  • #33
    May 29th, 2010

    This is so BEE-tiful 🙂 Honey chestnut creme sounds divine.

  • #34
    May 29th, 2010

    I love your story, I love your Pièce Montée, your bees are so cute and the filling sounds wonderful! Congrats on your challenge!

  • #35
    May 30th, 2010

    What gorgeous filling..and what wonderfull croquembouche!!! 😀 I’ve already said you – these cute little bee are fantastic! ;-D

  • #36
    May 31st, 2010

    Your croquembouche is so creative! I never would have considered honey as a flavoring for the pastry cream but it sounds delicious.

  • #37
    May 31st, 2010

    I guess we were on the same wavelength with our croquembouche…I did a beehive(sort of) with bees too:)
    Your bees are ADORABLE! Love it!

  • #38
    May 31st, 2010

    BEEautiful 🙂 I loved how you did it, loved the flavors and the looks. Congrats!

  • #39
    June 8th, 2010

    The bees are just WAY too cute! Great idea for a croquembouche (ahem.. croquembuzz I mean) too.

Shez