Friday, 11 May 2012

Chocolate and Cherry Croquembouche

100th post! 
Oh this is just too exciting, I've been waiting for this post for weeks!  I was thinking of doing this after my exams, but God knows I need some sort of procrastination when I'm home learning about anxiety disorders. A croquembouche is just a tower of profiteroles with caramel and other decorations.  It's a French dessert often eaten at weddings, and it means "crunch in the mouth".

 Mine was quite small, I'd say half a meter tall? I have no concept of length.  But anyway, for my croquembouche, the profiteroles are stuffed with chocolate creme patisserie and cherry-liqueur creme patisserie.  They're stuck together with caramel then decorated with glace cherries, pecans and spun sugar.
Croquembouches aren't that difficult.  Just learn how to make choux buns and caramel.  Admittedly it takes awhile.  It's better to start the night before, make the choux buns, the creme patisserie, stack them together.  Then decorate the next day.  The pecans are a little out of place, but I decorated with whatever I had with my cupboard.  It gives the false impression that the profiteroles are filled with pecan cream... I think the most difficult bit was making the spun sugar.  Could definitely work on that next time.  I think the key is to make it with a whisk - cut the tip off, dip it in caramel and shake it back and forth.  I didn't want to ruin my whisk so I tried with a fork.  If you have whisks to spare -- definitely use that.  
It was a lot of fun to put together.  I made a cone with a sheet of card and greaseproof paper and then basically just stuffed choux buns in.  I let that rest for a night and tipped it out the next morning
Cone! It's almost like an art project as well. 
Choux Buns
200ml cold water
100g butter, cubed
140g flour, well sifted
pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
4 medium eggs

Chocolate and Cherry Creme Patisserie
500ml milk
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 slice of lemon peel
1 slice of orange peel
6 egg yolks
150g sugar
50g flour, sifted
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp cherry-flavored liqueur 

Assembly and Decorations
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup glace cherries
1/2 cup toasted pecans  
1 A3 sheet of card
greaseproof paper

Choux Buns
You should make about 50 of these.  
Bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a boil. As soon as it boils, take off the heat and add all the flour in at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps until it comes together as a dough. Put back on low heat and stir for a couple of more minutes until the dough becomes drier and comes off the pot clean. Leave the dough to the side to cool. When the mixture is completely cooled, add one egg and stir until well incorporated. It may not look like it will but it will. Then do the same for the rest of the eggs, adding them one at a time. Have the oven heated at 220C, pipe them into small rounds if you want to make choux buns. Use a wet finger tip to rub each ball for a crispier crust. Bake for 10 minutes before turning heat down to 180 for 20 more minutes. Take out and leave to cool.  

Creme Patisseries
Heat the milk with the vanilla bean and the peels until it begins to simmer, then turn the heat off and let the flavors infuse for 10 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and foamy. When the milk has cooled down, whisk in 1/3 of it into the egg mixture, then whisk in the flour. Finally tip the mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk, and using a wooden spoon, stir continuously over medium-high heat until it boils. Then turn the heat down to low and continue stirring until it becomes thick, about 10 minutes. Leave to cool.
Separate the creme patisserie into two halves, mix one half with the cocoa and one half with the cherry liqueur.  Fill one cream into a piping bag and make an incision at the bottom of a choux bun, and insert cream until full.  Repeat with half the choux buns then repeat the same with the other cream for the rest of the choux buns.  

Take the A3 paper and roll it from one end to the other to form a cone.  Use tape to hold it in place.  Then take the greaseproof paper to make another cone of the same size, use tape to hold it in place (on the outside) and place it inside the paper cone.  Rest the cone inside a vase.

Spread the sugar on an even layer on a wide pan over gentle heat.  Just watch it like a hawk as it slowly turns to amber, and is all melted.  Shake the pan around if you think the sugar isn't melting evenly, but try not to stir it.  When it's all melted it's ready to be used as glue and to make spun sugar.  When it cools and hardens again, just put it over the stove to reheat it.

Take one choux bun and put it into the point of the cone with the bun's base face up.  Then you have to secure two small buns over the first.  You have to coat the tip of the bun with caramel and stick it onto the base of the first one at the point of the cone.  Then you just repeat the same thing as you work up the cone, packing the buns firmly.  Work in horizontal layers until the cone is filled.  If you have remaining buns then stuff them into the middle.  Cover with cling film and leave to cool at a cool place overnight.

On the next day, carefully invert the croquembouche onto a plate.  Carefully remove the card and the greaseproof paper.  Stick the cherries and pecans on using the caramel as glue.  Then to make spun sugar, dip a fork into the caramel and wait for it to cool a bit before shaking it back and forth vigorously over the croquembouche.  This may be a bit tricky, just experiment, I even used chopsticks in the end.  A whisk is easier if you have some to spare -- cut the tip of and it becomes a brush.  Dip the ends of it in the caramel and shake.


  1. errrr..... WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW i think that is all i ahve to say!

    1. thank you :D this is me procrastinating :P

  2. That is awesome! Making croquembouche in pastry school gave me an anxiety disorder. I wish we'd known about your brilliant cone method - genius!

  3. Did you know you can create short links with Shortest and make money for every visitor to your shortened urls.


© Design by Neat Design Corner