How to Make Croquembouche - Step by Step Recipe

Croquembouche

Source

It's Classic, It's French, It's Croquembouche!

Croquembouche (crunch in the mouth) is a classical French dessert that has been made since the late 1700's. Master Patissier and Chef, Marie-Antoine (Antonin) Carême (1783 - 1833), began to make these cakes, also known as "Piece Montées". (mounted pieces) in Paris, France for wedding cakes.

Carême has been celebrated as the first celebrity chef in history. He was a chef for Talleyrand, Czar Alexander I, George the IV and Baron Rothschild to name a few. It is said that he made Napoleon's wedding cake and golden flecked souffles for the Rothschilds. Carême was also a prolific food writer. In addition to all these endearing qualities, Carême was rumored to be a spy.

While he was pretending to be busy making tedious dessert towers he was listening to the table conversation from the kitchen. Taking notes and passing them along to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Tasty!

Traditionally, at French Weddings, the guests would bring cakes for the happy couple, piling them as high as possible. After the wedding the new bride and groom would kiss over the pile of cakes. If they didn't fall over it was a superstitious sign that they would enjoy wedded bliss for many happy years. If the cake fell, uh oh! Too late!

Carême came up with the concept of using a mixture of caramel and profiteroles to glue the tiny cakes together to ensure that each couple had equal opportunity for longevity and eternal bliss. In earlier days, the cake would be hacked off with a sword, ladies in waiting would catch the pieces with the edges of the tablecloth.

Croquembouche is now gaining popularity in the American culture for weddings, baptisms and parties. I was challenged by my friend and fellow hubber "writeronline" to make one of these foreign affairs. Being a glutton for punishment (and profiteroles) I couldn't wait to try this at home.

"Never eat more than you can lift." ~Ms. Piggy

Approaching a French Pastry

I knew this wasn't going to be easy. I have made profiteroles before so I was confident that I could do that part. The tower of power is what concerned me. I wasn't sure if I could construct this gorgeous amazon cake in my kitchen at home.

I consulted the experts. In one popular cooking site I visit for help a French pastry chef basically questioned the sanity of anyone who dared to try this. "Ask yourself why you want to make one is it just because it's pretty?" they posed.

No. For me it was because it is a beautiful dessert that tastes magnificent if made properly. I wanted to see if I could conquer croquembouche. Once I saw this architectural cake I had an overwhelming urge to make one and so I battened down the hatches and headed for the kitchen. A RealHousewife can do this bitch!

5 stars from 4 ratings of Croquembouche
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Source
Source
Source

Choux Ball

Perfect!
Perfect! | Source

Profiteroles - Part 1

Profiteroles are what we Americans call "creme puffs." If you follow the instructions, you can't mess up. I mixed a couple of recipes together after consulting several websites of French Pastry Chefs. I basically used the recipe from masterchef.com but I tweaked it a bit and used another caramel recipe that I have used before.

This worked beautifully in my kitchen. I had a few errors but after 15 hours, we had Croquembouche.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 3/4 cups Butter, Unsalted
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour, All purpose
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Eggs, Large

Instructions

  1. Bring water and butter to boiling in saucepan.
  2. Add flour and salt all at once. Stir for approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Just until it begins to pull away from the side of the pan.
  3. Transfer this hot mixture to mixer with wire beater and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Beat the eggs in one at a time, mixing well after each egg has been added. Beat until smooth.
  4. Cover and let it cool for at least 2 hours.
  5. Pipe small bits of batter leaving spaces between each one. Cook at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven off immediately. Quickly poke tiny holes in the side of each roll to allow the steam to escape and make pockets inside the puffs. Put the tray back in the oven for 10 minutes (do not turn it back on) to dry the centers out.
  6. After the custard has cooled, use a piping tip to fill the puffs.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Source
Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Source
Source

Vanilla Pastry Creme - Part 2

  • 2 Cups of Whipping Cream
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Milk
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 8 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3/4 Cups of Flour

Instructions

Mix the cream, milk and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, flour and salt together in a large bowl. Gradually beat the hot cream mixture into the dry mix. Return all to the saucepan and bring to a boil until it becomes very thick. Transfer it to a bowl and let it cool completely, stirring it occasionally. Cover it with plastic and you can refrigerate it for up to four days in advance.

Caramel - Part 3

  • 2 1/2 Cups of Sugar
  • 3/4 Cups of Water

Instructions

Add sugar to a heavy duty saucepan and just pour the water over. Drag a spoon through the sugar just to gently mix it and then do not touch it again. Bring the mix to a boil over a medium high heat and wait for it to turn a pale golden brown or amber. Cook it too long and it will burn.

When it turns a nice honey golden color take the pan off the stove and quickly plunge it into a bowl of ice water. This will stop the cooking process. After it cools for just a couple of minutes set it on a hot plate and let it cool for just a couple more minutes. You have to work fast. Once the caramel starts to cool - it does not stick well and becomes impossible to work with.

Assemble the profiteroles by using the caramel to glue them together. If you do not have a cone you can make your own as I did. Then add decorations. The traditional decorations include Nougatine (a mixture of almond slices and caramel), white and milk chocolate, spun sugar, fresh fruits dipped in chocolate or sugar, sugared almonds and toffee.

I was thrilled with the results of my Croquembouche but it kicked my butt. I have blisters on my finger tips from caramel, the kitchen was destroyed and I didn't finish until 3:00 a.m. Regardless, if I have a daughter that gets married, I will definitely prepare one for the table!

Croquembouche

Source

"The fine arts are five in number: Painting, Music, Poetry, Sculpture, Architecture -- whereof the principal branch is Confectionery." ~Antoinin Carême

More by this Author


Comments 52 comments

TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii

Your Croquembouche looks DELICIOUS!! Thanks for making the recipe so easy to follow (I don't work well without a step by step, LOL!) I'll be sure to try make a batch for the holidays this year (^-^)

Voted up & useful!!


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Wow, Kelly, you just keep on amazing! This looks fantastic! Voted up and shared.


Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Kelly, wow this looks so awesome and have pinned to try if I ever get adventurous one day soon. I love creme puffs too, so this would be right up my alley. By the way, when I first saw this I thought it reminded me of struffoli (an Italian pastry dessert), but then realized they were cream puffs, oh how I love both so either way I would have been in heaven reading!! Great job and have of course voted, shared and tweeted too!!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Please describe the taste of this beautiful dessert, in detail, and make sure I salivate.

Lovely! I now challenge you to make a low carb version, hahahahaha


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi TattooKitty! Haha I had to write notes out and keep them right in front of me thru every step! Lol. I ruined one batch of choux because I dripped the whole egg (including the shell) into the mixer! Lol I ruined 2 batches of caramel first too:) haha. I wish I had step by step! I wouldn't have fallen so many times:)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Terrye - doing stuff like this keeps me sane! I think? Maybe I'm already past that step?


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh Janine - you just reminded me of my favorite - Italian Cookies! Ummmm! This Italian lady used to make them when I was very little and I've never found recipes like them! I need to go on a quest! Lol. Thank you so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Lela that's the bad thing...I really wish I could have taste testers. Now yesterday when all the kids were here after school I made pizza for them ... They proposed that THEY could all be my testers:) lol lol

Makayla is very smart too and she said "come on who wouldn't want to know if a group of 12 year olds approve?!" hahaha


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

Wow and double wow! This is just amazing. I can see this at a wedding or formal event. This looks like a hub of the day to me. Sharing and within seconds it was favorited by several people. Excellent hub!


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX

Okay Kell! What time do we eat?

The Frog


CZCZCZ profile image

CZCZCZ 4 years ago from Oregon

The picture sold me, looks delicious. What a great idea!


Julie DeNeen profile image

Julie DeNeen 4 years ago from Clinton CT

I have to admit: the picture scared me. All I thought was WTF- Kelly thinks I'm amazing with my blogging skills...how the hell did she do that? :) Keepin' it real with bizarre french things that look way too good to eat. Nice job :)


AnnaCia profile image

AnnaCia 4 years ago

MMM! They look great, yummy and easy to make. Thank you so much.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

I promise to never attempt this one...lol... I can just imagine everything going wrong the minute I dump flour into boiling water...I really can't imagine how you did it....it really boggles my mind and I love to cook! Thank God there are Real Housewives who love to do these crazy stuff like making this very impossible Croquembuche! But I'll readily eat it anyday..lol


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh wow! Thanks so much Tammy! I just had to try it - and I know the first time you make something it may fail big time. I like to practice everything a few times before the real event. I would LOVE to adorn my table with this for a special even and now I KNOW I can. It gets easier every time:)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Well Frog tonight I made the excutive decision to NOT cook:) LOL So where ya takin' me? haha


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thanks so much CZCZCZ! This was fun to do but I had to clear my calendar and focus on nothing else for like a day! lol


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Ha! Julie in my research someone said that many times, no one wants to eat the cake because it's just too pretty! It goes to waste in a matter of hours though so what a waste!

Yeah - I have a new hang up I am stuck on! Pistachios and cherries are my target flavors for the next one!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thanks AnnaCia but don't let me fool you - it certainly was not easy! It can be done easier but all in all it is so much work! You have to be committed to devoting several hours of time for a dessert that will only last a matter of hours. Ridiculous and delicious!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh it was so great tasting...this one just takes patience. You totally could do this! You just can't do anything else while you are making it:) haha Now I certainly will be making another one and next time, I'll make it really pretty!

Thanks so much!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

Wow--I'm tired just from reading this! LOL I know what you mean about being up until 3:00 trying to finish a kitchen project that cannot be put on 'hold.' Been there, done that...never again will be too soon!

However, your results are beautiful, your instructions superb, your photos clear. Voted up, interesting, awesome and beautiful! Oh, yeah..and shared--for more amitious cooks than myself. LOL


tsmog profile image

tsmog 4 years ago from Escondido, CA

Hello RHW. I am famished and this looks tasty. What a fantastic creation and wonderful hub. I liked the historical information motivating me to jot some notes for google later. I have one question or two. How do you pronounce it? And, if I eBay these with a 24 hour turn around time how fast could you get me say a dozen? I know someone who knows how to package delicate stuff doing it as a job while going to school. Nahhhhhhhhh just kidding about. Hmmmm, thinking. I say this gets an 8 course meal rating in my book.

Tim


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

You are amazing to be able to create such a lovely and delicious creation!!! There is no way I could ever create anything that came close to such as this. I am with Cardisa on this one. It looks simply divine. I am sure it tastes divine as well. Do you have your own show? ----- Watch out Rachel . . . Thanks for the time spent on this hub, as it is obvious a labor of love. Also, thanks for the recipe and the how to do it, but . . . would love to taste it. Voted Way Up acrosss the board. In His Love, Faith Reaper


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

With this delicious-looking hub, Kelly, you have established yourself as a Pastry Chef Extraordinaire. Write a short ebook, 'Creating Profiteroles for Fun and Profit' and you will be well on your way to fame and riches. Trust me.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi DzyMsLizzy! haha Man....I know...I will not be making one of these again until a kid gets married:) LOL It kicked my rear and the next day - my kitchen was destroyed! But I did get the great satisfaction of finishing!

Thanks so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

hey tsmog - I am starving right about now too! Wish I still had one myself:)

Good question! Sorry I should have added the pronunciation - it sounds like (croak em boosh)....phonetically that is how I would say it in French, mais mon Francais - c'est trey mal!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh Faith - don't give me too much credit - I am more determined and persistent than amazing:) Thank you though!

I wish you could have had some too - that's kind of the sad part is that I can't let everyone see how awesome it really tastes!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh wow! Drbj - that is a great idea! I bet you are right on the money with that one! Thanks - I will have to think about that while I eat more profiteroles to you know, test em out:) hahah


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Wow this looks good. We made one of these in my high school french class and it was so good.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

I'm so glad I finally had a chance to come over and see this! FANTASTICNESS!! It's beautiful, and no wonder the "kitchen broke" while you were achieving this masterpiece! It's gorgeous. I don't know if I'd ever try this, but I'll definitely tweet it for people that might be getting married. :D


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Glimmer Twin - thank you so much! It was so good but you know, you can only eat so much of one type of thing:) I was getting burnt out on custard! lol


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

ha! Thanks so much Cyndi - yeah I won't be making it again soon! I still have healing burns on my fingertips:) LOL I am SO glad I tried it and it worked ... to go through all of it and have it fall apart - that would have hurt! lol Thanks so much for sharing too!


kelleyward 4 years ago

Wow Kelly this looks amazing! Shared and voted up!!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

Wow, Kelly, this looks amazing. I have never made a profiterole or creme puff in my life, but it looks like it would be such fun to do. It will be years till either of my daughters get married, but who needs to wait for a wedding - any party would be a good excuse!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thanks so much Kelley!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Yeah I think so too Melovy - I would so make this for a party table center piece! Maybe not a giant one again...lol...smaller? I did lots of researching before attempting to cook this and make it. I took a couple of days to plan it out - crazy! It was fun though - and tasty fun at that!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

OMG!!! You are an artist Kelly. I can't believe something like this can be done, outside a pastry chef on tv. YOU are too amazing. You've got to be the perfect wife and mother. Everything you do is first-class!

I also agree with drbj about creating an ebook.

I'll buy the first 10 copies :) Love you, lady!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

Perfect! So amazingly beautiful!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Vocalcoach! Thank you so much! I did have fun - but really I do not understand how those chefs can make these in big numbers! I still have a burn that is healing from that day:) lol It's so much easier when you can slow down and take your time...this did take me like 15 hours total work time! It tasted like it though! YUM!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh thanks Unknown Spy! I really wish I had one of those profiteroles right now! With a cup of coffee? Divine!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Not sure how I missed this one but I'm here now....you really made that? My God, girl, I am seriously impressed. My admiration for you just shot through the roof! Way to go, Kelly! Great job and great hub!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Bill! You know, I was just sitting down with a cup of hot coffee and gosh I sure wish I had one right now! Wonder if I can sweet talk my husband into running to the bakery for a profiterole?? hmmmm!

Thanks so much - this was really fun to do but I swear I will not be trying it again until somebody gets married!


lemonkerdz profile image

lemonkerdz 3 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

WOW! seriously impressive, although this hub was done 2 months ago it desserves reviving and being shared.

i saw a show on the MOFS master bakers of france, seriously skilled and they made this without a cone. it inspired me to have a go put the profiteroles didn´t work. maybe, just maybe i will have a go with your recipe.

My hat comes off to you for this one-


OanaBoteanu 3 years ago

Wow this is sooo nice. Impressive. Thanks a lot for this, one day I will get adventurous and do it!

Superb hub, voting up


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you so much lemonkerdz - this was a huge undertaking! Oh gosh it took hours and my fingers were burned for days:) hahaha BUT I did enjoy it and I'd do it again:)

Profiteroles are like anything else once you make a few batches its just old hat! Let me know if you make one and I can add a photo!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thanks OanaBoteanu - I wish it would have lasted. That's the crying shame is they go bad so fast! Good luck if you try it and watch the finger tips! Lol


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

This is truly impressive! What an elegant treat for weddings or a shower or any special event. I love profiteroles but I don't know if I have the patience to do this one. I really enjoyed reading about it, though! Thanks!


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

Oh, YUM!!!! Looks so tempting - and yes, it's impressive! I will get my nerve up, maybe, and try this one.


FullOfLoveSites profile image

FullOfLoveSites 3 years ago from United States

This is not only a work from the kitchen, but also a work of art as well! Very impressive! Voted up and awesome. :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you vespawoof! I tell you this took HOURS to make...all day! The profiteroles are no problem...it's the caramel and building it that burns your hands off:)

I'd make it for my daughters wedding but it would not be done for fun again:) haha. It tasted awesome too!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Wear gloves Marcy! OMG! I burned my fingertips off!

This is an all day thing and man you have to eat it right away too!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thanks FullOfLoveSites! It was heavenly to eat but hell to cook!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working