a sticky situation

I supposed since we’re here in Paris learning how to make pastries, it’s not too surprising that we’d be spending two whole lessons on making a croquembouche, a popular type of piece montee for the French at weddings, baptisms, and first communions.  The construction starts off with a nougatine base, which needs to strong enough to hold the tower of bite-sized cream puffs… after all, you can’t build a house on top of a weak foundation, right? ;)

We then have to decorate the base with royal icing to make it look like something that came out of the Victorian era… definitely not a modern dessert =P

The best part of the croquembouche comes next… the petit choux buns filled with vanilla pastry cream!  By themselves, they’re basically like individually-filled, bite-sized cream puffs, which become addicting immediately after you pop the first one into your mouth.  But unfortunately, we have to dip the choux buns in caramel for the outer shine and then use even more caramel like glue to stick the choux buns together into the traditional croquembouche shape.  The end result is an overly sweet concoction that’s nearly impossible to eat, not to mention to cut and serve ><  Seriously, I don’t think the person who came up with the idea of the croquembouche initially thought it through the whole way =P

As an intro to sugar pulling, which Chef JJ assured us we’d all be subject to in Superior class next term, Chef demonstrated how to make a ball from spun sugar, roses from pulled sugar, birds from blown sugar, and leaves from sugar molds.

Normally, the chefs make it look easier than it really is, but even Chef JJ had problems pulling the sugar… not exactly reassuring for us, right? ><

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