Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cream Puff Dreams in the Land of St. Honore'

Return with me now to the land of St. Honore’ where a graduation party for a princess is taking place at the palace. Princess Rosebud’s fairy godmothers are here, contentious as usual.

“Arabelle, you know that giving her a trip to the Enchanted Forest is so passe’”, said Eleanora.

“Well, at least I was invited to be here…unlike you”, protested Arabella.

Caramona observed,”Who would invite someone who always brings bad spells along and never fails to insult everyone at a party?”

Eleanora was incensed and decided that a bad spell was just what the party needed. With a wicked smile she said, “I haven’t given dear Rosebud my gift yet, so my gift is a spell…she will fall asleep and everything she dreams of will come true, just for tonight.”

Princess Rosebud thought that was a nifty gift, even though she promptly fell asleep and missed the rest of the party.

“Couldn’t you at least have given her a spell that ended with being kissed and woken by a handsome Prince?” asked Caramona?

“Maybe if I’d been invited I would have, but now I’m off to a party where I was invited”, sniffed Eleanora, and she left with a swirl of her cape, in a puff of smoke.

Nothing interesting happened at first (other than the fact that the princess was smiling a lot) but after about 40 minutes someone noticed that the dessert table suddenly held a beautiful new dessert.

Small cream puffs had been dipped in caramel and stacked up on a pretty plate. The guest broke off pieces and popped them in their mouths. Delicious!

When Princess Rosebud woke at midnight Caramona and Arabella asked her what she had dreamed. She was very excited.

“I’m never allowed in the palace kitchens, but in my dream I was a pastry chef and I created the most wonderful dessert! It’s called a piece montee’ and is a ‘mounted piece’ so I made a pyramid of pastry cream filled cream puffs, hooked together with caramelized sugar and decorated with spun sugar. I had so much fun making it!

The cream puffs were made with a cooked paste that was piped on baking sheets and baked…that’s when they puffed up.

The pastry cream was thickened with eggs and took a long time to cook over low heat.

Making the caramelized sugar was a little scary because it got so hot and you had to work quickly once it was set in the pan of cold water to stop the cooking process. It looked so pretty once it was all put together. I wonder what happened to it?”

Her fairy godmothers had the good grace to look abashed as they admitted that the guests had finished off every last cream puff. The princess wasn’t upset, however, because in her dream the one that appeared in real life was her practice version and not nearly as nice as the one she made next. Once she finished making the second one she had eaten her fill, wearing a white chef’s coat and a big smile. Sometimes dreams are better than reality.

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.

If you want to practice your pastry chef skills and make this decadent dessert, you can find the recipe at Cat’s blog Little Miss Cupcake and probably at many Daring Baker sites across the blogosphere.

I had a good time making this, almost as good time as Princess Rosebud. I had never made the caramelized sugar with lemon juice but it worked well. I ended up with a nice dark amber color.

The cream puffs were similar to those I made for the Gateau St. Honore’ for the first Daring Baker's May challenge, but I made these very small.

I think I should have made them a bit bigger so they would hold more of the luscious pastry cream. I flavored the cream with vanilla and rum. Although the sweetness level was higher than I like, Sweetie and I managed to polish off this piece montee with great enjoyment. No need to dream when you have the real thing.

Thank you Cat for selecting such an inspiring challenge for this month!


  1. Your dessert looks fantastic. You've hot the caramel to drizzle perfectly.

  2. i think if i had more time i would have decorated mine with the caramel drizzle but after i burnt my hands i had had enough. this looks amazing!

  3. This looks great! Love the header too!

    I'm so making this sometime.

  4. That is gorgeous - and I would have eaten it all, too. Lovely story....

  5. Anonymous6:53 PM

    What a wonderful story! And the cream puffs look deluxe! Beautifully done!
    Love, Natasha

  6. Super!! I wish I had found the time to do this but time is just getting harder and harder to find... I love how your drizzle turned out and as always, a very enjoyable story!!

  7. This is beautiful! The caramel drizzle is so pretty!