Profiteroles [Part 3/3] – Croquembouche
**EDIT: I need to improve this caramel recipe! It works sometimes, and doesn’t others – So if you want something a little more dependable, I would recommend checking out Martha Stewart’s Recipe (which I have tried, and is great). 🙂 Sorry for this, everyone! I hope the photos and notes on this blog help you as you put yours together!
“Croquembouche” is the name of a French dessert that literally means, “Crunch in mouth.” I learned how to make this a while ago, as a favor to someone who wanted it at an event… And wow. It’s super good, really cool looking, and just interesting. Which are three things I love about making dessert.
If you’re feeling adventurous, I’m abut to tell you how to make one yourself. Are you ready?
A croquembouche, if I understand correctly, is a French tradition for weddings, in place of a cake. It is basically a tower of profiteroles, stuck together with caramelized sugar and then decorated with spun sugar.
To make one, you’re going to need the following ingredients, plus a few supplies:
Profiteroles, filled and ready to go
…Yup, that’s all!
Note: This is a homemade, home-eaten method… If you’re making this for a wedding, you might want to be a little more meticulous about how you put this together. Feel free to ask questions if you need help!
To get started, set up a work station with newspaper on the floor, greased wax paper on the counter, and the plate you want to display your masterpiece on. You will also need a hot pad, a spoon, and 2 forks or a sugar spinning tool, to make those thin strands of caramelized sugar around the outside of your dessert.
Forks can be used if you don’t have anything else, and this is how you would hold them:
My preference, however, is to use something like this. I actually just took an old whisk, clipped the end off with wire cutters, and made myself a sugar spinning tool.
To make the caramelized sugar, put 1 c. of sugar and 3 Tbsp. water into a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture is golden brown (you don’t have to make it quite as dark as I did if you like a smoother, lighter caramel taste). DO NOT STIR.
Important: As the mixture boils, use a pastry brush, dipped in water, to brush down the sides of the pan periodically to remove bits of sugar stuck to the sides. This will help keep a liquid consistency.
Note: This is HOT! Be careful. And by hot, I mean beyond hot. Like, hotter than hot oil hot. Be VERY careful.
Remove the caramel from heat and set to work! (You need to work quickly; this caramel will set as time goes by). Using a spoon, drizzle a small ring of caramel on the base of the plate you’re using. Set about 5 profiteroles around the caramel, to stick to the plate.
Tip: You can also dip the profiteroles, but to keep you from burning your fingertips, I’m going to recommend using a spoon. I have also found that if you dip them, sometimes the blend of textures in the caramel will cause it to crystalize in the pot… Which is frustrating, because then you have to start over. So a spoon is an easy way to work.
Drizzle the tops of those 5 with more caramel, and stack more profiteroles on top (I did 4 for the second layer, 3 for each of the next 2 layers, and 1 for the top). When they are all stacked together, you can spoon a little more caramel over the whole thing, to drip down the sides if you want (optional).
Next, dip the tips of the forks or sugar spinner into the hot caramel. Lift it out, and and dip it back in a couple of times until there are little tips of sugar stuck to the end of the sugar spinner.
Then, either on the greased wax paper, or on the croquembouche itself (which is what I did, and that’s why the plate looks so… special ;)), drag the spinning utensil out of the pot and flick it back and forth (waving it around) across the surface you’re spinning on, re-dipping it in the sugar as needed. If you are doing it over wax paper, flick it back and forth a few times to create long, whispy strands of sugar, and then pick them up and wrap them around the croquembouche while they’re still warm.
Dun-na! Serve it up! 🙂
So much goodness!
Thanks for reading!