I realized, in going through old posts, that I still owe you a post about my magical birthday confection, a croquembouche!
Shane did a marvelous job of taking pictures, and Olivia has already posted a fantastic summary from imagination to execution to consumption. I did an excellent job of making a sugar volcano when the caramel sauce got a little too caramelized. The end result? A delicious, delicate tower of pastry full of vanilla bean-y cream. Each profiterole did, in fact, crunch in the mouth, and I felt like a little kid as I licked sticky sugar off my fingers. And I felt a rush of both pride – in having tackled a fancy baking challenge – and sugar, both of which are very good things on one’s birthday.
Dinner tonight at Shana‘s, pasta with pesto and a packet of summery vegetables from her winter Locavorious share. I had good intentions of roasting squash to bring for a salad, but time got away from me after work, and instead I brought my favorite beet salad from Plum Market, a package of spinach, and some leftover herbed goat cheese. It was such a treat to have zucchini and summer squash – and to share a meal with friends as we planned for the croquembouche.
Sometime over the holidays Olivia mentioned that she wanted to try the croquembouche, Shana expressed interest, and I offered up the occasion – my 30th birthday. Many emails have flown back and forth this week as we discussed recipes, divided up ingredients and equipment, and planned a small brunch to go with this confectionery masterpiece. Tonight we cracked eggs, whipped the pastry cream, piped small circles of pâte à choux – and drank wine and talked about food and life. I’ve missed evenings like this, and I hope that there will be many more to come as I enter my 30s.