March 30, 2011

Milk and White Chocolate Croquembouche

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The thing about caramel is fascinating. You can create endless projects from it, from delicate spun sugar to gorgeous wedding cakes; from boxes of fudge to a possible gigantic croquembouche.  It's messy, tricky, yet it IS fun. 

Klub Berani Baking, is Indonesian baking club that I've been motoring for three years now, goes for Made in Indonesia Plus for the 22nd challenge theme this month. We are challenged to bake Indonesian-made cakes or puddings, and it'll have to be combined with spun sugar as the 'plus' point.

So, here we go. Ladies, members of the club, are spinning their caramel around the world, and there are talks everywhere about it. The failures, the successes. The messiness. The creations. What to do, how to. Yes, it's just so various, so different. But in the end, we all will experience how to deal with caramel, and most of all, we know how to make spun sugar! How cool is that!

I say it's cool because it is chef's work commonly, isn't it? But hey, can we make it? Yes, we can!

I decided to make profiteroles from the recipe of an Indonesian cook and director of Natural Cooking Club and Catering, Mrs. Fatmah Bahalwan has created and posted on her website, here. Using plain flour, I thought my beloved husband would love to have them for desserts, for he loves custard-filled cream puffs and he is gluten tolerance. So, okay. I'll make croquembouche. But then, he said caramel will be too hard for his teeth, and that's a drawback. I thought, hm... what if I just use milk and white chocolate (as he doesn't like dark chocolate) for dipping and gluing the puffs, and then using caramel to cover around them. Worth a try.

And so I did try.

Making profiteroles.

KBB#22-choux making

That turned out really good.


The profiteroles are quite in good shapes, round and crisp. They are filled with pastry cream.

KBB#22-Pastry Cream making

After that, I dip each profiteroles with melted milk chocolate. I have just the right tin for making croquembouche, but because my profiteroles have been eaten by who else but beloved husband as soon as they are filled, I do not think they will be enough for the 30cm high cone tin. I decided to just stack them as a pyramid on a cake plate.

Then, it the real fun is just begun!

KBB#22-whisk-caramel making-hard crack

I haven't got the photos when the sugar had been spun as my iPhone battery was gone flat and the camera wasn't handy at that time. What I got was just this, after recharged my camera battery (not even full yet), just to get a photo of this as I noticed the sugar ball I created had gone soft and soggy rapidly.

There is an image I took a snapshot when I tried making spun sugar from dry caramel another time, here it is:

I was trying to shape it into a ball, but it did not take long to get soft and soggy. But You can see the colour of dry caramel is much darker than the wet one such on the photo below.

Milk and White Chocolate Croquembouche2

See that the ball on top? It is not as round as it was shaped just before I put them on top of that pyramid of cream puffs. I hadn't even spun the sugar around the croquembouche yet, the ball has gone soft. I was very disappointed. Not so much of a presentation, really. Then, I took the sugar ball down, squashed it in my hand and pop it in my mouth. What else can I do?

I warmed the caramel which was already gone hard, and make another spun sugar to wrap around the croquembouche. It went quite well. 

Milk and White Chocolate Croquembouche

I suppose I have to be satisfied with what I've got, although I really, really want to make a proper croquembouche with caramel and spun sugar. Perhaps, I should not be too much a perfectionist, like Alessandra said I was hehehe... 

caramel curl1

But it seems it is impossible for the caramel to stay crisp in our New Zealand hot and humid weather (take a look at the photo above when I curled the caramel, you can see some drops of caramel on the cake?), so I promise myself to make it again sometime in Winter. Perhaps I'm going to make gluten-free profiteroles to be my special birthday croquembouche later in July, see if it works better in cold weather than in summertime.

I definitely will play around with more caramel and spun sugar!

Wew! Ternyata ga ada halangan menghasilkan rambut2 ajaib itu. Aku bikin croquembouche karena kangmas suka kue sus, sekalian pengen tahu gimana sih rasanya menumpuk kue sus setinggi menara Eiffel? Meskipun menaraku miring mirip Pisa, diselimuti sama rambut2 gula jadi artistik jg ternyata. 

March 28, 2011

iPhoneography #19: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chiffon Cake

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Hipstamatic 201-Gluten-Free Chocolate Chiffon Cake

A gluten-free chocolate chiffon cake, taken with Hipstamatic 201. I have another version of it, sliced.

Hipstamatic 201-Gluten-Free Chocolate Chiffon Cake Slice and Coffee

Have you explored your Hipstamatic just yet? Tag me please if you've done. Would love to see yours. Have a great Monday!

iPhoneography #18: Iced

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Still using Hipstamatic 201, and Impression to give a watermark. Focused on the icing as it was my husband's work, surprisingly. He did it well, given that he's not a baker nor a kitchen lover ;)

March 27, 2011

iPhoneography #17: Ginger Beer

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This ginger beer is way to sweet for my taste. Anyone has a recipe for a homemade version?

March 24, 2011

iPhoneography #16: A Nostalgic Moment

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A slice of banana chiffon cake with cream cheese and lemon icing, a cup of tea, and a memory. Using Hipstamatic, a photography application on iPhone. 

March 23, 2011

iPhoneography #15: Just a Curl

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Hipstamatic 201-Banana Chiffon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Just a simple banana chiffon cake with cream cheese and lemon icing, decorated with a little curl of caramel, for morning tea on our wedding anniversary tpday. Yes, it is all about caramel for the current task of KBB. The full post will be updated the end of this month. 

I am using Hipstamatic this time. What can I say? I am in love with it too. 

March 20, 2011

iPhoneography #14: Autumn Mood

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pears, goblet, and white grapes

Creating Autumn mood with goblet, pears, and grapes. More iPhoneography for autumn fruits later on. Come join me making the most of your iPhone with iPhone and Camera+. I am also experimenting on iPhone and Hipstamatic as well. It's fun!

March 14, 2011

New Zealand Taste Farmers Market Awards 2011

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smoked kahawai and Rewena bread

I am just going to share some photos I took during our trip to Pokeno Farmers Market, which is only about 30 minutes driving from our place. I am told that the farmers market in Pukekohe has moved to Pokeno, but I saw less food produce offered there. The lady who sold fresh macadamia nuts wasn't there, my favourite food stall I've ever been--I enjoyed the chocolate covered macadamia nuts and that clever little gadget she introduced to crack the mac shell open with a snap. Gorgeous!

I always enjoy the trip to this traditional market although we don't usually buy a lot of things from it. We grow our own fruits and vegetables, I do my own baking and preserves (such as Damson plum cheese), we don't drink wine or alcohol, and don't eat cheese in daily basis, so there are not many reasons to go to the Farmers Market, to be honest. 

smoked garlic and herbs salt

But when I am going to look for smoked salmon, kahawai, or smoked garlic and herbs, there will I head to.

pokeno farmers market

pokeno farmers market2

enjoying ice cream

It's true that Farmers Market not only offer fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers or food products, but also some merchandise. Last time I visited Pokeno Farmers Market, I got a set of English tea cups and a huge bag of wool which then I used to knit a shawl for my mother. 

There are Farmers Markets around New Zealand (See the list here). Sadly to say, Pokeno's is not on the list. I haven't been to other farmers market just yet. But if you have, there is an opportunity for you to vote for your favourite one. There is a voting form that you can fill in, and you can be in a draw to win a trip to Singapore! How cool is that!

lovely tune in the market

And, some music while you cast your vote, everyone? Yeah!

March 06, 2011

iPhoneography #13

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Another still life on homegrown fruits. The wooden background is real, not a make-up from post-processing. I thought it would go well with the colourful fruits in the wooden bowl. I still use iPhone and Camera+. It is tap, tap, tap! Easy peasy. Come join me. Use the most of your iPhone, whatever generation it is. It is easy, fun and creative!

March 05, 2011

iPhoneography #12: Still Life with Peacherines

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Someone left a comment on this photo Flickr page that this photo reminds her of Paul Cezanne's Still Life with Apples. What a nice thing to say. Thank you.

March 04, 2011

iPhoneography#11: HomeGrown

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Homegrown peacherine, peachcott, Packham pears, and white grapes.