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Pièce Montée...Croquembouche, Pardon Moi?

Let's start off with a little explaining. The term pièce montée is sometimes used to refer to the dessert also known as croquembouche, an assemblage of choux pastry profiteroles (or occasionally other kinds of pastry) stuck together with caramel or with spun sugar into a

tall, usually conical shape. It is meant to be eaten; in France, traditionally it is served at parties that celebrate weddings and baptisms.

The invention of the croquembouche is often attributed to Antonin Carême, who includes it in his 1815 cookbook Le Pâtissier royal parisien, but it is mentioned as early as 1806, in André Viard's culinary encyclopedia Le Cuisinier Impérial, and in Antoine Beauvilliers' 1815 L'Art du Cuisinier. In Viard's encyclopedia and other early texts (e.g. Grimod de La Reynière's, Néo-physiologie du gout), it is included in lists of entremets—elaborate dishes, both savory and sweet, that were served between courses during large banquets.

So enough of the boring stuff, here is a good recipe for a basic croque en bouche, what is it with the French fixation on things to do with the mouth anyway?

Croque en bouche recipe
Download PDF • 279KB

Not unlike yesterdays post on gingerbread houses, and the previous bouche de noel there are many things you can add to your finished project...garnish.

In this example they have made the centerpiece a Christmas tree, nice! Actually pretty simple. The #1 basic principle is taste of course, followed by curb appeal. Do a couple of things well and you will be a crowd pleaser. Take your time to make the profiteroles well, make a good filling, and make sure you get the caramel right! The spun sugar is a nice touch, but even a good chocolate ganache will do for decor. Lastly finish it off with a little shine using good quality Christmas confections and love. Cheers, and happy Friday! 35 more sleeps until Christmas kids!

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