This is truly a showstopper dessert to impress, the Croque-en-bouche is literally translated as crunch in the mouth. Often seen on the tables of medieval French royalty this magnificent display of towering profiteroles filled with vanilla creme patisserie and held together with crackling caramel. It is a delight for all senses and a fantastic centrepiece.
Mon Dessert is transporting it all the way into modern-day and making it super simple for you to create at home. We hope to take away the main pain points associated with acomplishing this amazing cake. This is a dessert that anyone would be proud to say they made themselves.
Printable download choux template:
65.2g pastry flour
15g caster sugar
25g custard powder
1/2 vanilla pod
85g caster sugar
85g caster sugar
85g caster sugar
85g caster sugar
300ml water (105ml for choux, 195ml for caramel)
250ml full fat milk (dairy or oat)
65g cubed butter (25g for crème patissiere, 40g for choux)
2 medium eggs
Smeg stand mixer
Ingredients you will need to add
Making the crème pâtissière
For the crème pâtissière, pour only 200ml of the 250ml milk stated into a saucepan.
Split the vanilla pod in half and use the pointed end of a knife to scrape out the seeds. Place both the pod and seeds into the saucepan. Keep the saucepan on very low heat and let it infuse for 2 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 50ml of milk with the custard powder and two tablespoons (30g) of sugar from your sachets. Mix well until you achieve a smooth paste.
Return the paste to the saucepan, making sure to scrape out every last bit. To collect any remaining paste, use some milk from the saucepan to rinse the mixing bowl and add it back to the saucepan.
Now, increase the heat to medium-high and whisk the mixture constantly until the crème pâtissière thickens. It should reach a consistency similar to whipped cream, thicker than a regular custard. Once it has reached the desired thickness, turn off the heat.
Add 25g of soft butter, cut into small cubes, to the saucepan. Whisk the butter into the crème pâtissière until it starts to melt and incorporates completely. As a result, you will have a glossy finish.
Pour the crème pâtissière into a shallow dish. Place a plastic lid, such as a takeaway box lid, on top, making sure it touches the surface of the crème to prevent a skin from forming. Leave the dish to cool on a windowsill.
In a large saucepan, pour the 105ml water (add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter) and add 40g of cubed butter. Bring the mixture to a boil, and once boiling, quickly add all the flour at once while removing the pan from the heat. Return the pan to the heat and beat the mixture vigorously for 1 minute to allow some of the water to evaporate. Leave the mixture to cool for 5-10 minutes.
To prepare a piping bag, simply take a piping bag and place it in a convenient upright position. You can use a tall glass or any stable container to hold the bag while you spoon in the dough.
Print out the downloadable choux template four times. Preheat the oven to 200°C with the fan setting. Place the four templates evenly on two large baking trays and cover them with baking parchment.
In your pan, pour in 2 beaten eggs a little at a time, stirring vigorously until the paste is smooth and glossy.
Spoon the mixture into the piping bag fitted. Pipe around 32 rounds each about 3cm diameter onto the baking sheets about 3 mm away from the edge of the template circles.
Dip your finger in cold water and gently flatten any peaks that may have formed on the piped rounds.
Bake the choux buns for approximately 15 minutes, or until they have risen and turned golden in color. Once baked, use the pointy end of a thermometer or a nozzle to pierce a hole in the bottom of each choux bun. After piercing, turn off the oven.
Meanwhile wash and dry the piping bag.
After piercing the buns, return them to the switched-off oven for an additional 3 minutes to allow them to dry out. Once the drying time is complete, remove the buns from the oven and set them aside to cool.
Now, take the cooled crème pâtissière and give it a whisk to ensure there are no lumps. Transfer the crème pâtissière into a piping bag fitted with a syringe nozzle and connector. Place the piping bag, with the syringe nozzle and connector attached, in a tall glass to keep it upright and stable while you work.
Now, it's time to fill your choux buns with the cooled crème pâtissière. Gently squeeze the piping bag to loosen the mixture, ensuring it comes out easily. Insert the syringe nozzle into the pre-made hole in each bun and slowly fill them with the crème. Pay attention to the buns, and you will know they are fully filled when you see the crème starting to ooze out from other holes and when they feel slightly heavier. This indicates that the buns are adequately filled with the delicious crème pâtissière.
To build the Croquembouche
To begin assembling the croquembouche, prepare the caramel that will serve as the adhesive to hold everything together.
Fill your sink with cold water, filling it approximately one-fourth of the way up. This step will come in handy later, as it allows you to quickly cool the pan and prevent the caramel from overcooking.
In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 310g of caster sugar and 230ml of water. It is advisable to use a deep and narrow pan as it helps regulate the heat more effectively.
Combine the sugar and water in the clean pan, stirring gently on low heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil.
While the mixture is boiling, avoid stirring it. However, make sure to periodically wash down the sides of the pan and the thermometer with a little water to dissolve any sugar crystals that may form. Boil the mixture as rapidly as possible until it reaches the required temperature of 154°C, as indicated by the digital thermometer.
If any scum appears on the surface, remove it with a spoon. When the required temperature has been reached, remove the pan quickly from the heat and plunge it into the sink of cold water for a few seconds to prevent the temperature rising further due to heat absorbed by the saucepan.
Put on the protective gloves to ensure safety. Place your cone on a flat serving plate. If the cone doesn't lay flat, you can use a serrated knife to trim the base and make it even. Taking each choux bun on its side, carefully dip it into the hot caramel and arrange the buns around the base of the cone. The caramel acts as an adhesive, helping the buns stick together. Continue dipping the buns in the caramel and layering them around the mould, working your way up until you reach the top. If the caramel starts to thicken, you can briefly return it to heat to warm it up, but be cautious not to let it burn.
If you have extra choux buns, there are two options you can consider. Firstly, you can continue building the croquembouche higher, adding more layers to make it taller. Alternatively, you can arrange the additional buns around the side of the serving plate, creating a decorative border. Both options allow you to make the most of the extra buns and create an impressive presentation.
The fun part - decorating
To add a finishing touch, you can use a fork to create spun sugar by dipping it into the saucepan of caramel and carefully drizzling it all around your croquembouche. This will give it an elegant and decorative appearance. However, please exercise caution as the caramel is still very hot. Be creative, but prioritize your safety while handling the hot caramel.
For further decoration, you can enhance your croquembouche by adding artificial foliage and flowers or even sugared flowers. However, ensure that any artificial flowers are washed first before coming in contact with food.
If you have a special occasion coming up and you're planning to make the croquembouche as a centrepiece, it's advisable to schedule a test run before the main event. This will give you an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the process, make any necessary adjustments, and ensure that everything goes smoothly on the day of the event.
However, if time doesn't permit a test run, don't worry! The most important thing is that you gave it a try and put your best effort into creating the croquembouche. Even if it doesn't turn out exactly as expected, the experience itself is valuable, and you can always learn from it for future endeavors. Enjoy the process and embrace the joy of creating something special.
*All sachets are recyclable at all major supermarkets. Simply keep them with the rest of your supermarket bags and they will be recycled.
*Wash any new equipment that is in contact with food throughly.
*Risk of trace particles from manufacturing of - Sesame, Soy, Peanuts, Milk, Nuts
Sugar, Wheat Flour (with Added Calcium Carbonate, Nicotinamide, Iron And Thiamine), Custard Powder (Cornflour, Natural Colours (Annatto, Curcumin), Natural Vanilla Flavour), Madagascan Vanilla Pod.
The choux buns can be made in advance and frozen, or can be stored unfilled for up to 3 days in an airtight container. If the buns are soft after defrosting or storage, lay them on lined baking sheets and bake at 180 C / fan 160 C / mark 4 for 5 minutes until crisp.
Calories 371, Fat 12.2 grams, Saturated Fat 7.2 grams, Carbs 61.7 grams, Sugar 49.6 grams, Protein 4.5 grams