Heyo peeps. I’d like to start off this post with a question: Anyone watch Weekenders? It was a show a long time ago where a group of young friends did absolutely nothing and learnt life lessons and ate lots of chili cheese fries.
I’ve never had chili cheese fries…
I ask because the idea behind today’s recipe stemmed from an episode from this show. In some random episode, as part of some talent show thing, a croquembouche was made. Do you know what croquembouche is? It actually looks much better in real life than it did on that show.
Basically, you take a bunch of balled pastry with cream inside and stack it up into a very tall and lean pyramid. You will sometimes see people drizzle some caramel into a thin wire around the structure. This kind of dessert is REALLY fancy, and really only shows up at big French weddings. C’est magnifique!
Ever since I saw it on the show, I’ve always wanted to try and make it. I mean, who wouldn’t, after hearing all that? (Feel free to raise your hands at this time to indicate that normal human beings don’t typically feel the urge to make complicated and intricate pastries for fun)
However, I am not to be deterred and a croquembouche I shall make. Like most things I attempt though, it is only a dismal and cheaply improvised attempt. The results taste good enough I am told (I never bothered to try the damn thing myself), and it didn’t look terrible in the end. However, it is only a croquembouche by association. Do not send this recipe to your friends and tell them that you know how to make croquembouche. Following this “recipe” will teach you how to make… whatever it is that I made. In future I may create a better recipe, but don’t count on it.
Okay, shall we get started? Yeah, why not.
Alright, so if you read my previous “But does it cook” post, you will remember that I mentioned that I did not have an oven. How can I make pastry then?
Now I know what you’re thinking. “But why did the chicken actually cross the road?”. While I can’t answer that question, I can at least explain why using a deep-fryer is not a completely stupid idea. Firstly, what is the next best thing to a pastry ball? How about cooked dough? While the best result might use a fluffy and soft pastry, a compromise might be something like a doughnut ball, something akin to a Timbit. As it turns out, there is a Japanese recipe for these doughnut balls that required deep-frying. The recipe I found was for something called “Sata andagi”, a traditional snack from Okinawa. This was how I settled the problem of “no baking”.
Okay, so the cake itself is made from a pyramid of donuts. The recipe I used was this:
NOTE: you should consider how large you want to pyramid to be before you make the dough. You should know the dimensions before you start rolling the balls from the dough. That way, you can make the right amount of dough, or you can plan to keep the size of each dough ball consistent and make extra balls if some don’t turn out well.
After creating the balls, I created a cream to put into each donut. The cream recipe is as follows:
Take fresh whipping cream. I whip with a whisk, you can use an electric hand mixer. The key is to know when to stop. Whip until the cream on the whisk leaves a trail on the surface of the cream in the mixing bowl that doesn’t disappear. Add sugar to taste.
To fill each donut, you can be professional, or you can be like me and be lazy instead. To be a professional, you can use the following guide to make a piping/pastry bag, the things actual people use to “pipe” frosting into pastry:
I just cut a little into each ball and scooped in the frosting.
Next, you stack them in a pyramid. A fun idea I had but didn’t have time for was to use caramel to either: a) create a “cement” to hold the balls together or b) create a caramel string to surround the whole pyramid. In either case, you need a recipe for caramel. You can find that in this link (which is actually a recipe for pudding, also useful for you, and at the bottom it explains how to make caramel):
Alright, now you have everything assembled. However, it probably looks terrible, at least mine did. Of course it would, after all it’s just a stack of hard balls of dough with random white stuff coming out. Ugly.
What do you do with ugly things? Cover it up with makeup.
In my case, makeup came in the form of mascarpone topping. To make it, do the following:
Take some mascarpone cheese. Make sure that it is easy to spread. If it is hard to spread, it might be too cold, so leave it until it gets to room temp. Mix it until it is easy to spread.
I was able to add some coffee flavor to my mascarpone by adding the coffee-flavored syrup that came with the cheese package. You can add instant coffee in small amounts and taste it to see if you want more.
Next, add sugar to taste, same as with the cream recipe above.
NOTE: I say “add to taste” often. I will follow a recipe up to a point, but no one ever buys exactly 200 g or 400 mL of anything. If I want to make a little more or use up a little more, I will. At that point, you need to add a little more of everything else, but you don’t know how much. Therefore, you need to taste and make your judgement accordingly. Cooking, unlike chemistry, is not always helped by being made an exact science. Besides, there is no point following a recipe if you don’t like how it tastes xD.
Okay, you have now finished the topping. Take a spatula and spread it on the surface of the donut pile and…
Voila! There you have it! That’s all it takes (at least that’s all it took me). For added effect, I always like to sprinkle sweetened cocoa powder on top (usually a store brand cocoa-drink powder mix will do the trick, nothing fancy). You can always get unsweetened cocoa powder, mix it in first, and then, you guessed it, add sugar to taste.
This recipe creates MY… donut cake. Yeah, it’s a donut cake.
Okay, thanks for reading, and have a great day.