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Imperial Sugar
Dixie Crystals

Croquembouche

Croquembouche Dixie

Ingredients

Cream Puffs

Pastry Cream Filling

Caramel A

Caramel B

Decoration

  • 1, 18-inch-tall foam cone
  • Nonstick aluminum foil
  • Edible flowers as needed
  • Ribbon as needed

*Spoon & Sweep method: Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained. Scooping measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside several cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
  2. Bring milk, water, salt, sugar, and butter to a boil in a saucepan large enough to hold all ingredients.
  3. Remove the boiling mixture from heat source and rapidly stir in flour with a wooden or firm heat-resistant rubber spatula.
  4. Return mixture to heat source and stir over high heat for at least 2 minutes and until it forms a ball and leaves a dry-looking dough film on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Remove from heat. Incorporating eggs is best done using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  6. Mix in 3 eggs, and once fully incorporated, add another 2 and scrape the bowl well. Keep adding eggs and scraping bowl until 11 eggs are added. Mix until mixture is smooth and shiny. The batter should be glossy and slightly firmer than mayonnaise. If it is still a little too firm, beat the remaining egg and add just enough for the mixture to be glossy yet firm enough to hold a piped shape. If needed, add the remaining egg.
  7. Fill a piping bag with a plain tip of about 1/2-inch diameter. Pipe batter evenly into 1-inch diameter domes, about 1 inch apart. If you are running out of cookie sheets, do not worry; this batter can be refrigerated, piped, and baked later.
  8. Using a sifter, sprinkle domes with a thin layer of powdered sugar or spray with a thin coat of baking/cooking spray.  
  9. Place in oven. Bake until dry, crisp, and deep golden, about 33-37 minutes. Do not underbake this, as this will cause puffs to collapse. When you believe they are done, take one (ugly) puff out of the oven and feel its sides. It should feel crisp. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes. If puff did not collapse, remove others from oven.
  10. Once cooled, make a small hole on the bottom of each puff using the point of a paring knife. Set aside. Puffs can be frozen, filled, and used later.
  11. For pastry cream, pour milk in a pan large enough to hold all ingredients. Add first listed (1 1/4 cup) (250 g) sugar. Stir occasionally to a boil.
  12. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and add 1/4 cup (60 g) warm/hot milk. Add remaining (1 1/4 cup) (250 g) sugar and whisk rapidly and at least for 1 minute until well combined.
  13. Add cornstarch and whisk smooth. Add vanilla. By now, milk should be near boiling point. Pour 1 1/2 cups (360 g) boiling milk into yolk mixture and whisk rapidly. Add another cup (240 g) and whisk smooth.
  14. Pour tempered yolk mixture into boiling milk and whisk until cream boils and has thickened.
  15. Remove from heat. Place the pot in a large bowl or sink filled with iced water. (Do not vigorously agitate cream as this can make it too runny.) Using a rubber spatula, stir cream every 1-2 minutes to cool it evenly. After 6 minutes of cooling, add butter and gently stir until combined. Cover with a lid or plastic food film and let cool completely.
  16. Pastry cream can be further flavored by adding liqueur. If so, 5 tablespoons will suffice.
  17. Place cream in a piping bag fitted with a small plain round tube and fill puffs via the bottom hole.
  18. Set aside a sheet of nonstick aluminum foil.
  19. For first listed caramel, combine sugar, water, lemon juice, and honey in a saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, do not continue to stir, as this will lead to crystallization. Place a lid on pan and trap steam for a minute. Remove lid.
  20. Caramel is best heated on high heat; however, if working on a gas stove, flames cannot come up the sides of pan as this will prematurely caramelize syrup on the sides, giving a false impression of being done.
  21. Cook syrup undisturbed. Do not stir until a golden color is obtained, about 340°F-350°F.
  22. Remove from heat and dip the bottom of the pan in cold (not iced) water for about 30 seconds. Dry the bottom of the pan.
  23. Carefully dip the top of the puffs in caramel and place on nonstick aluminum foil. Eventually, the caramel will get too firm to dip. Place pan on low heat to remelt.
  24. Wrap the cone with nonstick aluminum foil and place on a sturdy serving platter.
  25. Cook the second batch of caramel following the same guidelines, including dipping it in cold water at the end. Dry the bottom of the pan.
  26. Dip a side of a cream puff in caramel and adhere to the cone. Dip a second puff on its side and attach both to the cone and the previous puff. Repeat until a full circle around the cone base is made.
  27. Dip a puff on its side a start building the second row. Keep repeating to the top. Remelt caramel on low heat if needed.
  28. Using caramel, glue flowers onto the croquembouche. Decorate with a ribbon if desired.
Dixie Crystals Insight
  1. Dipping the cream puffs in caramel and building the tower must be done the same day as serving; however, the non-filled puffs can easily be made a week ahead and placed in the freezer. 
  2. If puffs were made ahead and frozen, defrost at room temperature. Once defrosted place in 375°F oven for 4 minutes to make crisp again. Then proceed with filling and finishing.
  3. Caramel is best removed by submerging pans completely in water for a few hours. Caramel will completely dissolve without using elbow grease.