Thursday, May 27, 2010


Erica and I had a lot to celebrate this past month, and we're happy to report that a successful croquembouche helped us do that!

We started this little projected nearly 2 years ago, when we had just finished a tough 1L year. We thought baking (and blogging) would be a nice remedy to way that law school can make you forget about the other things in life - good food, good friends, and new challenges that don't come in the form of rules and statutes. I'm proud to report, that after 3 years of hard work, Erica and I have officially earned the name sake of our blog - we received our juris doctor degrees on May 14th.*

Thanks to the awesome schedulers at BarBri (the bar review course that most newly minted JDs shell out the big bucks for in order to prepare for the bar exam), some of us had a rockin' three days between graduation and the beginning of class. No rest of the weary, huh? So with one of our days off, Erica and I tackled the Croquembouche, and two bottles of champagne...

I made two crème patissiere the night before - plain vanilla and chocolate espresso. The later was the result of a remnant chocolate espresso bar - divine, but I must say that the espresso bean pieces did NOT like going through the pastry bag. I seem to always make that mistake.

The next day, Erica and I set in on making the pate a choux. Easy enough! Adding the eggs in was a big strange - the dough didn't want to absorb any egg for quite some time, but eventually the gloppy mess yielded to a smooth dough. While we waited to bake, we watched Martha and Rachel Maddow assemble Martha's "famous" croquembouche (honestly, what is that woman not famous for?). Watching Rachel and Martha interact was quite entertaining - neither seemed particularly comfortable, but we were impressed on their ability to switch from pate a choux to politics and back to caramel. We were also impressed by the beautiful sugar cookies that they used to decorate - in a spontaneous move, we threw together a batch as well.

Despite the flat dough, Erica assured me that the pate a choux would eventually poof up. And poof it did! We almost took them out of the oven about 20 minutes early (always turn to the next page in a recipe), but only about 3 or 4 suffered in the process.

Filling the poofs was a bit of challenge (see espresso beans, supra), but we eventually got at least some crème patissiere in each of them.

We were nervous about assembling, particularly given our utter failure with the gingerbread house, but the caramel was so sticky that it proved really easy to assemble. We added some decorations in celebration of graduation (like the blue and gold there?), and then sat down to enjoy with friends.
Looking forward to the next one! (Something savory please? And something that doesn't involve suet? :-))

* Not quite lawyers yet though - over the next two months, I'm sure you'll hear more about our adventures in BarBri and tackling the dreaded CA bar.

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.


jschro said...

congratulations esquires/bakers extraordinaires...

chef_d said...

Congratulations! And that's a great looking croquembouche, love the 2010 cookies you used to decorate!