UPDATED POST ON 21-11-2014
Last year’s croquembouche was done late at night and it was quite a disaster and this year, I have decided to prepare another croquembouche for this purpose.. This croquembouche is rather tall. 2 feet high with about 100 profiteroles. It is the full recipe of 4 eggs as stated in this post. There is no change in the recipe but I have change the method of assembly and assembly of the profiteroles.
- Build a cone support as the centre. I use some white paper, roll it like a cone and cut off the bottom. I wrapped with aluminium foil and in the centre, I place a jar of the same diameter such that it is stable.
- No caramel sugar were prepared this time. Instead, I used the melted chocolate to stick to the cone. Assembly starts from the bottom and gradually went up to the top.
- For the profiteroles, I have prepare 3 types – original, one is coated with white chocolate with some dark chocolate stripes and the last one is dark chocolate coated and sprinkled with some baked almond meal. To make the chocolate coating, one of the easiest way is to melt the chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minutes. You can also melt it over stoves using water bath method.
- No fillings were done this time as I do not forsee we are able to finish the profiteroles . In addition, I do not want my kids to have too much cream loaded bakes. The plain profiteroles with the chocolate coating is nice on its own.
Re-prepare this is to let readers aware that croquembouche is possible to be prepared at home without much expertise required. It cost a bomb because it is slightly laborious. It took me about 2.5 hours from baking to finishing the whole croquembouche . Of course, a bit of planning is required. Most of the time is wasted in waiting for the chocolate to dry up. Why not try to prepare this for the coming Christmas dinner..It will be a centrepiece of the dinner.
The name Croquembouche sounds so jargon and technical. However, it is nothing more than a piling of profiteroles (puffs) in a 3 dimensional cone shape. It is a French term and the pastries are usually served and in important occasions, parties and gatherings.
A croquembouche or croque-en-bouche is a French dessert consisting of choux pastry balls piled into a cone and bound with threads of toffee. In Italy and France, is often served at weddings, baptisms, and first communions. The name comes from the French phrase croque en bouche ‘(something that) crunches in the mouth. A croquembouche is composed of profiteroles (choux pastry balls) piled into a cone and bound with threads of toffee. It may also be decorated with sugared almonds, chocolate, flowers, or ribbons. Sometimes it is covered in macaroons or ganache.
The basic pastry is choux pastry and the puffs or profiteroles can be decorated in many ways. It can be caramelized, dip in chocolates and/or ganaches, macaroons, fondant icings and etc. Depending on the type of exterior decorating agents used, the interior of the puff can be plain or piped with custards, whipped creams or fruit flavour whipped creams. It can be as elaborated as you want it to be. In Singapore, a 28cm (diameter) x 37cm (height) fully decorated with colourful and beautiful icing croquembouche can cost as much as SGD400-500. For a party of 30-40 persons, it will cost about SGD10 per persons for the pastry.
For purposes of this illustration, I have prepare the croquembouche in the shape of a Christmas tree since Christmas is approaching. Utilizing 4 eggs, I have managed to prepare at least 70-80 profiteroles with about 1 gram per profiterole. This batch of profiteroles is a rather satisfactory batch with solid crusts and hollow internally. However, I did not do any elaborated decoration to the choux pastry as I am sure we are unable to finish and impossible to give all to friends unless it is in a party setting. I also did not pipe in any custard or creams for the same reasons. However, I have taken a few (about 10 of them to coat with white and dark chocolate for purposes of picture taking..
The making of choux pastry is exactly the same as the recipe for Chocolate Éclairs’. As for the toffee, my toffee is not perfect and slightly too dark as I am using a type of pan with capsule base and the toffee continue to get “cooked” despite I off the heat when it is just light brownish in colour. Therefore, readers are reminded not to use any pan with capsule base for this purpose.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings : about 70-80 profiteroles
4 eggs (please disregard one egg in the above picture)
125 grams of unsalted butter
125 grams of plain flour
250 grams of water
300 grams of white sugar
150 grams of water
STEPS OF PREPARATION
Pre-heat oven to the hot 200 degree Celsius.
Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper or lightly grease the baking tray.
In a sauce pan, place water and butter. Bring to boil. Take away the sauce pan and add in flour. Stir until well mix. Put it back to the stove and continue stirring until the dough leaves the side of the pan and forms a ball.
Transfer to the whisking bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the dough for about 30 seconds to release the heat. Add in one egg at a time and continue to whisk until the egg are well mixed. Repeat the same for the other 3 eggs. Do not add the eggs too quickly, otherwise, your dough will be very runny. If it is too runny, beat for several minutes or until thickened again. The end result of the dough should be glossy but not runny.
Transfer the dough to a large piping bag fitted with 1.5 cm plain nozzle. Pipe the dough in a 1.5 cm diameter balls leaving rooms for expansions. Bake at 200 degree Celsius for 10-15 minutes and reduce the oven temperature to 175 degree Celsius for another 10 minutes or until golden and firm. Do not open the door during the first 15 minutes as it may deflates the puff when temperature changes and you do not need to open the door when you reduce the temperature.
Once ready, take out from the oven and use a toothpick to poke a small hole on both sides of the éclairs to let the trapped moisture to escape. Cool completely on a wire rack .
Preparing the Toffee
Put the sugar and water in a pan. Stir over low heat without boiling until dissolved. Simmer over low heat without stirring until the toffee is light golden brown. Note that I have used a pan with capsule base. Even though I off the fire like is seen in the picture, however, the syrup or toffee continues to cook and by the time I used it about 15 minutes later, it become rather dark coloured. Therefore, it is advisable that readers do not use this type of pan for preparing the toffee.
Note that if you want the puff to have fillings like custard or whipped cream or you want to coat your puff with fondant icing, chocolates etc., you have to pipe and/or decorate it before you continue with the next step. I have purposely coat a few of the puffs with white and dark chocolate for this illustration purposes.
Have a serving plate and place a piece of baking paper in shape of serving plate. Begin with the larger puffs, dip the base in the toffee and place in the baking paper in a circular shape.
Gradually build up into a cone shape with the smaller ones at the top. If you prefer, you can decorate the puff tree by drizzle the leftover toffee in a circular pattern on the puff trees. Let it dry and decorate with your Christmas ornaments if prefer.
Readers can use your creativity to decorate your very own croquembouche. Be it exterior or the interior. Remember, for this illustration, I am using the basic decorations in order to avoid wastage, feel free to pipe in custard, durian cream, whipped cream and etc. if you have adequate guest. If you want to impress your guests, after piping, decorated every puffs with beautiful fondant icing or chocolate patterns before you assemble the croquembouche. It sure will impress your guests. Before I end the post, you can always use the same pastry for making of durian puffs, custard puffs etc. without assembly into the shape of a croquembouche. Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.
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