Drippy Caramel

Here we are again, another conquest at our feet. As always, there are things to be perfected but I think I’ve made a good start of it. I’ve been wanting to make a Croquembouche for a while now and this morning I decided today was the day.

A Croquembouche is a traditional French dessert that is often served at weddings and other festive occasions. It is composed of cream puffs (profiteroles if you want to be fancy) stacked up in a conical shape and glued together with caramel. From what I’ve read, it was Antonin Careme, a very famous French chef from the 18th century, that made this particular dessert famous. The Croquembouche is one in a class of pastries called Piece Montee or “Mounted Pieces” that were meant to be the center of attention. It seems that Careme had an interest in architecture which carried over into his Croquembouche construction. The conical shape is the one we think of now but he made gothic towers and Turkish Mosques and all sorts of things. And at one point, the Turkish fez was a popular shape for a Croquembouche.

One last element is required: some external decoration. Traditionally, spun sugar is wrapped around and around the tower. Sometimes it is decorated with sugared almonds, flowers or ribbons. Here I have made a few roses out of fondant and wrapped the tower in spun sugar.

Purple Fondant Rose

When you bite into a profiterole, the hardened caramel gives you a nice crunch to offset the softer textures of the puff and the pastry cream inside. Thus the name, which depending on who you ask, literally translates to “crunch in the mouth” or “bite in the mouth”. These puffs are truly delicious alone but stacked in a tower! Wonderful.

As far as a recipe, I used this one.
If you attempt this, please be careful with the caramel because it is very hot and there is nothing quite like a sugar burn. And this next part I only warn you of because I’ve heard of someone actually doing this: Do not lick anything (spoons, spatulas, newly-dipped profiteroles, etc) that has molten sugar on it!!! You will whole-heartedly regret it!

Thank you for reading once more and as always, if you think someone may enjoy my blog please send them a link! Happy Easter all!

A tower of profiteroles wrapped in molten sunshine