I always wanted to try and build this dramatic choux pastry tower we call Croquembouche. A few months ago Betty Binon and Rodica Godlewski made and took pictures from a gorgeous one, decorated with flowers and leaves. It was so inspiring, so I wanted to create my own version.
In this post, I will tell you, what is the best way to make a stable tower. I've spent a few hours finding the right method, so you do not have to waste your time, just follow these steps below for the best result.
- First of all, you need to make profiteroles and your desired filling. You can find my choux pastry recipe here together with a basic pastry cream recipe, you can fill the choux balls with.
- Once you have the filled profiteroles, let's start thinking about the assembly of your gorgeous croquembouche.
- Make a parchment cone, try to fix it by tape or folding the edges in. Mine was about 25 cm tall.
- It should be able to stand straight on the table or plate, but make sure you cover the surface with a piece of parchment paper too, to avoid messing up with caramelized sugar.
- There are more options: some people build the croquembouche inside a giant parchment cone. I've tried it, but I didn't feel enough control in the process so I wouldn't recommend this for beginners. Instead of this, we will build up the tower outside the parchment cone.
- Place 300 g sugar and 75 ml water into a pot. Whisk them together to make sure all the sugar is covered by water.
- From now on do not stir the mixture! The structure of sugar will be very unstable during this process, and if you stir it, the result definitely won't be beautifully golden caramel.
- Heat up the sugar on maximum heat. Keep your eyes on the sugary water, because it's easy to burn it.
- The point, when you have to remove the pot from the heat is when you notice light golden brown spots in the boiling sugar. Still, do not stir the caramel!
- It's time to dip the base of the profiteroles into the caramel.
- Dip the base of the profiteroles into the hot caramel. Be careful, do not burn your hand!
- Push these profiteroles straight against the base of the parchment cone and create the first layer.
- Work quickly, the caramel sets fast.
- Build up the layers to cover the whole parchment cone.
- If you run out of caramel, just simply make another batch, and continue the building.
- Once you complete the croquembouche, let the caramel set properly for a few minutes.
- Finally, you can lift up the tower and gently remove the parchment cone.
Spun sugar (optional)
- First of all, you will need a great tool for the most beautiful angel hair. You can use a simple fork, but the result won't be too impressive. Let's sacrifice a wire whisk, cut the hooks in half, and straighten the wire ends a bit.
- Set up a broomstick or something like that, cover by cling film, line the floor with newspaper pages.
- Prepare a batch of freshly caramelized sugar. Let it cool for a few seconds.
- Hold the pot in hand, dip in the modified whisk and pull the caramel angel hair over the broomstick by moving the whisk back and forward over it. Dip the whisk into the caramel again till you have enough spun sugar.
- Grab the angel hair layers by hand and wrap them around the croquembouche.
- I've decorated my croquembouche only slightly with spun sugar since I knew I will add other decorations too, but you can go crazier if you fancy, you can find many spun sugar decoration ideas on the internet.