I have always loved Croque en Bouche, or also known as Croquembouche, the famous French dessert that always makes quite an impression wherever it is served and seems so intimidating to prepare.
It’s a really impressive dessert that is perfect for Christmas or New Year’s Eve though it is also served at weddings or other special occasions during the year. What I find to be more impressive is the fact that it is made with common ingredients that you might already have in your pantry. The Croque en Bouche I’ve made consists of crispy craquelin profiteroles filled with almond flavored pastry cream glued together with a delicious caramel forming an irresistible cone tower. What not to love about it?
It is a bit time consuming therefore I suggest preparing the profiteroles and pastry cream a day in advance. On the next day, fill the profiteroles, prepare the caramel and create the tower. It is so satisfying creating the tower that really worth all the effort. Hope you will give it a try and let me know if you do. Enjoy!
Croque en Bouche or Croquembouche
- 1/2 cup (113g) butter , room temperature
- 2/3 cup (135g) light brown sugar
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp (1g) salt
Vanilla Almond Pastry Cream
- 2 cups (500ml) milk
- 1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
- 1 tsp (5g) almond extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup (70g) sugar
- 1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
- 2 tbsp (16g) flour
- 1 tbsp (15g) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 (190g) all-purpose flour
- 5 fl oz (150ml) milk
- 5 fl oz (150ml) water
- 1 tbsp (15g) sugar
- 1 tsp (5g) salt
- 4 oz (120g) unsalted butter
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (120ml) water
- Prepare the craquelin. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, using a spatula or wooden spoon. Add flour and salt and mix until combined.
- Put the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll the dough until very thin, about 2-3 mm thick.
- Freeze for at least 30 minutes or until ready to use.
- Prepare the pastry cream. Whisk the egg yolks with sugar until slightly pale.
- Incorporate the cornstarch and flour. Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour about a third of the hot milk over the egg yolk mixture. Pour the whole mixture into the saucepan over the milk. Bring to a boil while stirring and thickens. Transfer to a clean bowl and add vanilla extract and almond extract.
- Incorporate the butter while stirring. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent forming a skin on the surface.
- Let the custard cool down to room temperature and then let it chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, until it’s completely chilled.
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
- Prepare the choux pastry. Sift the flour. In a saucepan bring milk, water, sugar, salt and butter to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add flour all at once and incorporate mixing energetically with a wooden spoon until homogenous.
- Return the saucepan over low heat and while stirring cook for 1 minute or two to pull out the moisture from the batter and until it pulls away from the sides of the pan. You will see some of the dough sticks to the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer batter to a large bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add eggs one at a time, carefully incorporating each into the butter using the wooden spoon or even a stand mixer. It will result in a smooth, homogeneous batter which still holds its shape.
- Fit a pastry bag with a large ½ inch (1 cm) plain tip and pipe the dough into 1 inch (3 cm) circles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Remove the craquelin dough from the freezer and cut 1 inch (3cm) discs, using a cookie cutter or a piping tip.
- Place the discs on top of the choux, pressing slightly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and puffed.
- Prick each with a skewer to release steam and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Remove pastry cream from the refrigerator and whisk until smooth. Transfer the pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip.
- Pipe the cream into each from the bottom of it.
- Line a polystyrene cone with parchment paper. My cone has a diameter of 5 inch (12cm) and 11 inch (28cm) high.
- Prepare caramel. Place sugar and water in a saucepan. Place over medium low heat until sugar dissolves and gets a caramel color.
- Carefully dip the sides of the profiteroles in caramel and arrange them around the cone.
- Ideally make sure the caramel does not touch the platter for easier removal.
- Work fast dipping and glueing the profiteroles until you reach to the top.
- Reheat caramel over very low heat if needed.
- Let set for a few minutes and remove the cone and parchment paper.
- Dip fork in caramel and create circles over and around croque en bouche.
- Decorate with flowers if desired. Enjoy!