“The White Cathedral was a cavern of alabaster quartz…. Its walls were damp and bloomed with mushrooms, salt lilies, toadstools shaped like stars. It was buried deep beneath Ravka...” SIEGE and STORM by Leigh Bardugo p.427. “…in the White Cathedral, people were careful not to stray too far from the passage that curled around the main caverns. Strange sounds echoed through the dim warren of tunnels, groans and unexplained rumblings. RUIN and RISING by Leigh Bardugo p.1
Dish: Croquembouche made with “cavernous” and filled cream puffs.
Filling: fig crème patissière, rose crème patissière, almond crème patissière.
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter; 6 eggs (large); 1 teaspoon sugar; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1 1/2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt butter in 1 1/2 cups water with sugar and salt. Add flour and mix vigorously for about 3 minutes- best with a wooden spoon until the dough is homogenous (a light film should form on the bottom and the side of the pan.) Remove from the heat. Add 6 eggs, one at a time, and beat until perfectly incorporated. Use a pastry bag to pipe out the dough in mounds (about 1 inch high and wide) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg glaze (1 egg beaten with some water). Smooth the tops (with a wet finger.) Bake for about 20 minutes – until puffs are puffed and golden. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE BAKING if possible. Let completely cool before filling with cream.
BASIC PASTRY CREAM
6 large egg yolks; 1/2 cup sugar; 1/2 cup flour; 3 tablespoons unsalted butter; 2 cups milk
Whisk together egg yolks and sugar until mixture is thick and pale yellow. Add the flour. Continue whisking. Add hot milk and melted butter. Place mixture in a saucepan and over high heat. Stir until mixture boils and thickens. Continue stirring until homogeneous. Remove from heat. Let cool completely before piping it in the puffs. For chocolate pastry cream: add 2 ounces of melted chocolate to the mixture. For other flavors: add about 2 teaspoons of a chosen extract (lemon, almond, lavender…)
2 cups sugar; 2 tablespoons corn syrup
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pan (do not stir) and boil until any crystals are dissolved. Uncover. Boil a few more minutes - until syrup is amber brown. Remove from heat. Use immediately.
ASSEMBLY OF THE CROQUEMBOUCHE
Pipe the pastry cream in the puffs. Dip the bottom of each puff into the caramel and “glue” together in a pyramid.