Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel
Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel

Croquembouche is a traditional French wedding cake, made up of a tower of cream-filled, caramel-dipped profiteroles. The traditional croquembouche recipe is made with vanilla pastry cream and decorated with sugared almonds. My version is made with freshly whipped cream in various flavours and decorated with crystallized edible flowers, sugar art, and very high quality melted chocolate.

NOTE: Keep a bowl of ice water nearby when working with the caramel. If a burn occurs, dip the effected skin into the cold water and hold it there for several seconds to stop the burn. If in doubt, seek professional medical help.

Prep Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes without crystallized edible flowers. The flowers take 30 minutes to prepare and 36 hours to dry: I make mine in bulk well in advance.

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes

Ingredients - Cream in 5 Flavours:

Maple:
1 cup Double cream
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
¼ tsp Pure Vanilla Essence

Vanilla:
1 cup Double cream
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Essence
1 tbsp Icing Sugar

Cinnamon Spice:
1 cup Double cream
2 tbsp Icing sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg

Chocolate:
1 cup Double cream
¾ cup 70% Dessert Chocolate
1 tbsp Icing Sugar

Almond:
1 cup Double cream
1 tbsp Icing Sugar
½ tsp Almond Extract

Choux Buns

1 cup butter
2 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 eggs

Caramel

 

2½ cups granulated sugar

⅔ cup water

 

Preparation:

Making the creams:

Maple – Add all the ingredients to your bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.

Vanilla - Add all the ingredients to your bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.

Cinnamon Spice - Add all the ingredients to your bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.

Chocolate - In a bain-marie, melt the chocolate. Let chocolate cool until still liquid but not hot, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile whip the cream into soft peaks. Then add ½ the chocolate mixture to the cream and beat until combined. Add remaining chocolate and icing sugar and whip until stiff peaks form

Almond - Add all the ingredients to your bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.

Chill the creams before filling profiteroles, about 2 hours.

Making Choux Pastry:

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the water. Add salt and flour, and stir until a sticky batter is formed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the batter is smooth.

Preheat oven to 400°F, 200°C , Gas Mark 6. Grease 2 baking sheets. Pipe the prepared choux dough into 24 small rounds on each baking sheet. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the profiteroles puff up and turn golden brown. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before filling with the prepared creams.

Filling Profiteroles:

Spoon the chilled pastry cream into a bag fitted with a plain tip. Insert the tip into the underside of a profiterole and pipe about 1 teaspoon of cream into it. Repeat with the remaining profiteroles. Place the filled profiteroles into the freezer for at least 3 hours.

Making Caramel:

Spoon 2½ cups sugar into a medium sauce pan and pour cup of water over it. Draw a spoon through the sugar to wet it and turn the heat up to medium-high. Once the mixture is up to a simmer, wipe down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush. Allow the sugar mixture to boil for 15-20 minutes, until it turns pale golden brown.

Remove the pan from the heat and immediately plunge it into a bowl of ice water for 5 seconds to stop the cooking process. Allow the caramel to cool for about 5-10 minutes, until it has the consistency of maple syrup. When it has cooled to this point, be ready to work very fast.

Assembling the Croquembouche:

Dip 12 profiteroles, one at a time, in the caramel and arrange them in a circle on a parchment-lined serving plate or cake board, using the caramel to glue them together. Continue building the croquembouche by dipping and “gluing” another, smaller ring of profiteroles on top of the first one. Continue the process until the classic cone or tower shape has been achieved. Lightly drizzle the remaining caramel over the Croquembouche to form a cobweb of spun sugar. Affix sugared almonds, metallic + dragées, and crystallized edible flowers for decoration. Carefully drizzle high quality melted chocolate over the completed Croquembouche

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