Tis the Season to be Jolly

With the mention of Christmas, what comes to mind? To me, besides 2 Corinthians 9:15, Christmas is all about giving and being merry.

My first christmas as a chef means people now have higher expectations of the food I prepare. Moreover, being here in Sydney means there’s a stronger house party culture VS back home. Add these two together and you would pretty much understand why I have been very busy these past few days 🙂

Here’s what I prepared for yesterday’s party at CL’s —

 tart1 tart2
[LEFT] FRUIT FLAN #1 made by me
[RIGHT] FRUIT FLAN #2 assembled by my housemate, CC

And a whole lot of Choux Puffs….

…to build this….

croq2My first attempt on a choux puff croquembouche (since I skipped the croquembouche lesson at LCB to bring my mom out to the city).

My learnings from the engineering this croquembouche —

1) Instead of buying a croquembouche styrofoam cone costing up to $40 each, purchase a toy loud hailer (seen above) at Daiso for just $2.80
2) Bake the choux puffs the day before so you will not be overwhelmed and too tired to assemble the choux puffs. Just make sure to refresh the choux puffs in the oven before assembling
3) Make sure to dip the puffs in lots of caramel so that the croquembouche holds up on it’s own after you remove the structure + silicon paper. Optional: You may want to add lots of salt to the caramel to add a twist to the traditional method – salt caramel…the in thing isn’t it?
4) Assemble croquembouche as near to service time as possible because sugar is hydroscopic and will start melting away – resulting in your spun sugar deco vanishing in thin air and overall weakening of the croquembouche structure (eventually, it will come tumbling down)
5) You may want to consider leaving out the choux puff filling – this will result in a less heavy structure and the product can be left out in r.t.p for most of the day and still remain edible. For yesterday’s party, I brought along a piping bag full of earl grey creme pat and set up a ‘dessert counter’ where people came to pick their choux puffs off the croquembouche and handed it over to me for the CHILLED creme pat. This way, I managed to collect individual feedback which will help me improve for the future. Kids (and even adults) loved it…some of them were also thrilled to have their hand at piping the filling themselves.

Yayness! 1 party down, 2 more to go.

John 3:16 – Merry Christmas one and all!

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