Croque-en-Bouche

Lately I’ve been a little under inspired. It’s not for a lack of trying. I have actually been testing recipes like crazy, viagra canada sick I’m just not loving what I come up with. I try to tell myself that sometimes this happens. That it happens to the best chefs in America. That even the Barefoot Contessa must have the off day or two here and there, generic cialis prescription where not even the clout of her name is high enough to keep a souffle from falling. So to get me out of my food funk, viagra what seems more rational than trying one of the culinary world’s scariest desserts?

Croque-en-Bouche, when done right, is a glittering tower of delicious golden clouds filled with sweet, rich pastry cream and glazed with a molten caramel that forms not only the sinfully delicious glue that holds this magnificent tower together, but the perfect crunchy juxtaposition for all that sweet smooth cream.

Now traditionally speaking, Croque-en-Bouche is a French wedding Cake. I believe the literal translation is: Crunches in Mouth. Emily, is that right??

Now I don’t know anyone getting married, but I need a major accomplishment to get me out of my food funk, so if I pull this off, I’m going to celebrate and dance like I did on my wedding day! And then I’m going to eat every damn delicious golden bite. Well, maybe my hubby can help.

So, wish me luck… here goes nothing!

Croque-en-Bouche

For the Pate de Choix batter

1 cup organic unsalted sweet cream butter
2 cups water
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sea salt
9 eggs
For the Pastry Cream
3/4 cup organic fair trade cane sugar
6 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups organic whole milk
1 1/2 cup fresh Raspberries
2 teaspoons vanilla
For the Caramel
3 cups organic fair trade cane sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Method

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter in water. Bring liquid comes to a rolling boil, add all the flour and salt. Stir vigorously until mixture forms a solid ball/chunk and comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Using a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, pour the pate de choix batter into the bowl, beat in the  eggs, one at a time, making sure batter is completely smooth after each egg.

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When dough is satin smooth, place in a piping bag and pipe small 1-1 1/2 inch rounds onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. You will want to use at least two half sheet pans. Smooth the tips of dough down with dampened fingers, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and pierce each puff with the tip of a sharp knife to allow excess steam to escape. Return to the oven for another 4-5 minutes. Check them often to make sure they do not burn. Place on racks to cool. When cool, fill each puff with pastry cream. (Puffs may be baked up to 24 hours in advance but once they are filled the Croque-en-Bouche should be assembled immediately.) Dough yields roughly 70 puffs.

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 Place eggs and sugar and Vanilla in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until the eggs and sugar are pale yellow in color. Add in 1 1/2 cups fresh Raspberries blend until smooth. Add in salt and flour and blend until smooth.  Very slowly add the scalding milk through the feed tube. Return mixture to a heavy saucepan and cook over medium/low heat whisking constantly. Mixture will thicken quickly, keep whisking to avoid lumps, about 6 minutes. When very thick, remove from heat, pour into a bowl, and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of cream to prevent a skin from forming and chill thoroughly, about an hour. Yields roughly 4 cups.

Place sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat only until sugar is dissolved. Do not stir after that, swirl pan only. Raise heat and allow syrup to cook until it is a deep golden color (hard crack on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and place in a large pan containing boiling water to keep it soft and manageable.

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Using a piping bag filled with the cooled pastry cream, pipe a small amount into each puff until just full. Lift individual puffs with your fingers and dip into the caramel. Place caramel side down on a large round serving platter. Make a round of puffs then another ring of puffs on top. Keep building in this manner to form a tall cone. Any remaining caramel can be drizzled over the top.

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Happy Tasting!

Bacon + Pea Carbonara

Carbonara

Is there anything on this Earth that is better than bacon? I can only think of a few things that are better that straight up bacon and they usually include the use of bacon. Can you tell I live in the Midwest? For the hearty folk of Minnesota, cialis generic treatment meat, generic viagra well more specifically bacon, will always be a staple of life. One of the reasons I love living in Minnesota. We are unashamed of our love of meat. (Take that how you will) ;)

Bacon+Pea Carbonara

5 strips Un-cured Nitrate Free Bacon

1/2 cup Frozen Peas

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

3 Organic Free Range Egg Yolks

1/3 box of Spaghetti ( I use Creamette)

Grated Parmesan to finish

Method

In a large pot bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 1/3 box of Spaghetti and cook until “al dente.” Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium flame, cook bacon strips until crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Add minced garlic cloves. Cook for 1 minutes making sure garlic does not burn. Add the frozen peas and cook 2-3 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Separate 3 egg yolks. Off the flame add the yolks 1 at a time to the pea and cream mixture, whisking constantly so the egg yolks don’t coagulate. Drain the pasta and toss in the cream sauce. Crumble the bacon on top and stir into the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan and enjoy!

Happy Tasting!