Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Croquembouche

All this time off has left me with ample time to catch up on all sorts of cookery programmes including Masterchef and the Great British Bake-Off. This not only is great fun but also means endless inspiration of things I need to try. This leads me to the Croquembouche. I will openly admit by no means is this the easiest of desserts to prepare. It may look straightforward ( as I thought watching from my couch) but in fact bringing all the different elements together was far more challenging than I thought. The result however was well worth all the effort. A beautiful shining tower of sugar and pastry, the perfect centre piece for a dinner party or special occasion. 



The croquembouche is a traditional French dessert often served at weddings and special occasions in both Italy and France. I started out by making my own 'Crochembouche' cone to shape the tower around. I then wrapped said cone in baking paper using sticky tape where necessary. I had to call in re-enforcements for this one and between myself and Shaud (my wonderful Mom!), we set up a production line, filling each of the 125 choux buns with creme patissiere. I then built the creme filled choux buns around the cone, using the caramel. The result was equally beautiful and delicious. 

Croquembouche

Ingredients
For the choux buns
150g butter
175g plain flour
5 eggs (beaten)
375ml water

For the creme patisserie
600ml milk
4 eggs and 2 egg yolks
180g sugar
150g butter
100g cornflour
3-4 drops vanilla essence

For the caramel
300ml sugar
225ml water

Method
For the choux buns
1. Preheat the oven to 200C and line 3 baking sheets with baking parchment. 
2. Place the cubed butter and water in a pan and heat until the butter melts. Allow to boil. 
    Remove from the heat and sift in the flour, stirring well until the mixture forms a soft ball.
3. Allow to cool a little before adding the beaten egg and mixing until the mixture looks smooth 
    and glossy. Place the mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm nozel. Butter a baking tray and 
    splash with a little water. Carefully pipe 30 rounds as pictured leaving a little space to allow 
    them to spread and then glaze with beaten egg. 
4.Place in the oven at 200C for ten minutes, then turn the oven down to 170C and bake for a  
   further 15 minutes or until risen and golden. Remove from the a puncture a hole in the base of 
   each bun, allowing air to escape to prevent the buns from going soggy and place on a wire 
   rack.


For the creme patisserie
Place the milk in a pan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering remove from the heat. In heatproof bowl whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together until pale and creamy. Next mix in the flour. Then pour the milk over the egg mixture and stir. Pour the whole mixture back into the 
pan and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, whisking continuously until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and cover with cling film and leave to cool. Then chill until ready to use.



For the caramel
Place the water and sugar in a saucepan and stir gently, until the sugar dissolves. Allow the mixture to come to the boil. When the mixture begins to boil, attach the sugar thermometer to the pan and allow the temperature to rise to 154C. Be careful melted sugar is very hot and sticky. Once 154C is reached, remove from the heat and begin to dip each choux bun in the sugar and build up around the cone, working from the bottom up.



The Assembly
Place the creme patisserie into a piping bag and fill each choux bun through the puncture hole made at the base. Place the cone on a cake board or large plate. Dip each choux bun into the caramelised sugar, and build the tower up from the base up. Sprinkle the cone with icing sugar if desired. Once assembled, allow the caramel to set for 30 minutes.

E-D's Notes
- The cone I used had a 42cm length (side) and an 18cm diameter. I made it using an A2 
  sheet of card, wrapped in baking parchment. I watched a brilliant video on YouTube for a 'how 
   to' guide.
- To decorate, drizzle with melted chocolate or spun sugar.

7 comments:

  1. YUM!! These look so delicious. Thank you for sharing. I have a link party every Sunday, and I would love for you to share this. Your newest follower. :)

    Kathy
    www.lifeonlakeshoredrive.com

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  2. Those look so amazing! I would LOVE to try that...if I had a whole free day or something! :L
    So, just wanted to say that I love your blog even though I'm fairly certain I've never commented before...it's so easy to slip into the category of silent follower, even though as every blogger knows they're the worst thing ever! From now on I'll try and make more of an effort because this is a great blog! :D

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    Replies
    1. Emily, thanks so much for the kind words! It means a lot that you did comment! I'm glad your enjoying my posts and look forward to keeping up with you on your blog! You should defo give this Croquembouche a go...looks amazing but tastes even better! :-)

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