Cake Chat and more…
Cake Chat and more…
Croquembouche, a classic French wedding cake.
If you are not a big fan of Royal Icing and you are looking for a showstopping alternative, then the croquembouche is definitely the one to go for.
Many questions pop-up from couples about it. I will try to answer as many as I can here. But before I start, let me tell you a little bit more about this beautiful cake.
Croquembouche, a classic French wedding cake, is a beautiful tower of tiny profiteroles also called “choux”. It is wrapped in delicious golden caramel and filled with a yummy creme patissiere (pastry cream). But, if you go to France and ask your patissier for a croquembouche, he might not understand what you mean as we call it “pièce montée”.
La “pièce montée” is also a tradition at baptisms and first communions.
La pièce montée, is filled with a pastry cream. In France the tradition is vanilla. Here in the UK, couples are more adventurous. Common flavours are vanilla, chocolate, coffee, chocolate hazelnut or even passion fruit.
It depends on the number of guests. A tall croquembouche, usually contains between 200 and 300 choux and will usually measure between 90 to 100 cm. The showstopping effect is definitely there, no doubt about it.
Believe it or not, it is a very stable cake to transport. Because of its structural shape, it is very heavy and therefore not very prone for movement, which makes it extremely stable compared to a tiered cake for example.
The croquembouche may look complicated to cut, but in reality it’s not. Providing you use the right knife, either a bread or steak knife. The choux separate easily.
La “pièce montée” that I used to see during my childhood, with a simple nougatine, golden caramel and spun sugar has long gone. Here at Gourmandises, we often add flowers, sugared almonds or even fruits to our croquembouche. Nowadays, it tends to be adorned very imaginatively, the nougatine is much more elaborate and stylish. Nougatine is golden caramel mixed with flaked almonds and left to set, it can then be shaped beautifully. The nougatine tends to be seen at the bottom of the croquembouche.
I hope I have answered all your questions but if you need more information, do not hesitate to message me.
If you’re looking for inspiration, have a browse at our gallery.
Strawberry, raspberry vol au vent
This recipe is perfect for a posh dinner party, high tea or just as a treat to share with your family and friends. Vol au vent more often used for savoury dishes literally means “blow in the wind” possibly to describe the little hollow puff pastry. So we are going a bit against the norm here with this strawberry, raspberry vol au vent.
One roll of puff pastry ( please go for a pastry made with butter)
3 egg yolks
100 g sugar
500 ml milk
47 g of corn flour
A drop of vanilla paste
A punnet of raspberries
A punnet of strawberries
3 ginger nut biscuits
A few mint leaves for decoration
Vanilla pastry cream:
In a pan, bring your milk to the boil, in the meantime whisk your egg yolks and sugar to a white consistency, then add your corn flour and whisk again until completely incorporated. Once your milk has boiled, pour a 1/3 of it into your egg yolk/sugar mixture and whisk as you pour, once mixed, pour the rest of the milk and pour the entire mixture back into the pan, on the lowest heat possible and whisk until your mixture thickens. Once thickened, pour into a container and add the vanilla drop, mix and cover the top of your pastry cream with a cling film and put it in the fridge to set for a good 2 hours.
To make the pastry cases:
Pre-heat your oven to 180° C, cover a tray with parchment paper. Using a 10 cm pastry cutter cut 6 to 8 circles, place them on your baking sheet and cook for 15 to 20 mns until golden brown. Let them cool on a wire rack.
Crush your ginger nut biscuits. Once the pastry cases have cooled, carefully remove the centre, spoon a good dollop of pastry cream inside and fill the top with strawberries and raspberries, sprinkle with the ginger nut biscuits and add the mint.
Et voilà! Enjoy with a glass of rosé or a delicious cup of tea.
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