Wednesday 8 October 2014

Croquembouche/ Profiteroles


A literal crunch in the mouth or the croque-en-bouche is a delicious dessert traditionally served as a wedding cake in France and Italy. It is made up of creatively piled profiteroles which make a cone like structure simply glued to each other by fresh hot caramel and decorated by spun caramel; thin golden threads and generally referred to as a Croquembouche. Elegant and simply delectable.

The French who take their food creations very seriously honour the patron saint of chefs, Saint Honore by creating the Gateau St Honore, another combination of  profiteroles served as a cake.

Try this as a centrepiece to your dining table. A definite show stopper!!

This quantity will make 36 large or 50 small profiteroles

Choux Pastry 

In a pan heat on a low flame,

1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup water
now add
1 cup flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix well, it should make a roux. Cook for a minute or two.
Cool for 5 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a food processor and with the machine running add 4 eggs one at a time allowing it to process and give a sheen to the mixture.

Pipe the eclairs with a piping bag on a greased baking tray or lay out a sheet of parchment paper instead.
Bake in a preheated oven of 375F/190C degrees for 20 minutes and then on 350/175C for another 20 minutes until well baked through.
Fill  each of them generously with creme patisserie or fresh whipped cream with a large nozzle on your icing bag from the bottom of the profiterole.

Creme Patisserie

2 cups cream
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp sherry
In a pan mix the sugar flour salt and cream. Whisk to cook over a low flame. Bring to a boil for a minute or two.
In another bowl mix 2 egg yolks vanilla and sherry, mix it well. Now add 1 tbsp of the hot mixture to the egg and beat it well. This will temper the eggs so they don't curdle. Now through a sieve push the egg mix into the cream mix and keep mixing. Bring it back to the stove for a minute to allow the eggs to cook through. Keep stirring to keep it smooth. Put a piece of cling film over the custard so it does not form a skin over it.

Caramel :

In a pan, it must be a pan with a handle you can hold on to while swirling and later to paint the golden threads on.
Heat 1 cup sugar + 1 tsp water
Allow to melt. Swirl the pan once or twice. 
Remove from the heat at a golden colour.

Set the already browned caramel over a hot water bath to keep it soft. While it is soft touch each profiterole on the bottom of it to the caramel and assemble the tower. This will act like your glue. Once that is done, hold the pan close to the tower of profiteroles and with a fork or a food brush swirl the caramel over. Using artists stroke it will magically leave a trail of thin golden threads which will harden instantly.

Alternately take a parchment paper and go round in circles over it to make a wreath like caramel spun structure that can be placed over.


Use a hand held balloon whisk to mix the roux. It is most efficient and leaves a smooth dough.

If you don't have an icing bag use a large ziploc bag, fill in the choux pastry mix, twist to make a cone, and snip of the edge of the bag! No washing and no cleaning. Although it is easier to make pipe out and fill larger profiteroles, the smaller ones are easier to handle to assemble the actual croquembouche.

The cream Patisserie is available ready to fill in delis across the UK and Europe. Just add a dash of sherry or rum if you prefer.

To spin the caramel into threads, place the prepared caramel on a hot water bath to keep it liquid. With a fork spin the threads on to a butter paper/parchment paper in a form of a large "ring" and place on the tower of your profiteroles. Work very quickly as caramel hardens within minutes and burns within seconds! Be careful not to scald yourself as it is extremely hot and can burn you easily.

For the caramel, remove from heat once it turns a light amber colour if assembling the croquembouche to use as your glue.  Alternately assemble the custard filled profiteroles and pour the hot caramel all over!! 

For more recipes from my French Collection click

Niloufer's Kitchen: French Bistro


Zainab Mahmood-Ahmad Croquembouche!? Outstanding!

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