How To Make A Croquembouche (Cream Puff Tower)
Who needs a boring old cake when you can have a tower of sweet and creamy croquembouche? This French delicacy is as impressive as it is delicious, and is sure to make any occasion feel like a fancy soirée. Just don't forget to have your camera ready, because this dessert is definitely Instagram-worthy.
for 30 servings
- 6 cups milk (1 ½ L)
- 2 vanilla beans, scraped
- 18 egg yolks
- 2 ¼ cups sugar (450 g)
- ¾ cup cornstarch (95 g)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 cups water (945 mL)
- 4 sticks butter
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 4 cups flour (500 g)
- 12 eggs
- egg wash
- 2 cups sugar (400 g)
- 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
- ⅔ cup water (160 mL)
- ⅔ cup heavy cream (160 mL)
- Calories 311
- Fat 11g
- Carbs 40g
- Fiber 15g
- Sugar 23g
- Protein 11g
Estimated values based on one serving size.
- In a pot, heat the milk and vanilla bean pod and seeds over medium heat, bringing it to a boil. Once it begins to boil, turn off the heat and let steep for 15 minutes.
- Using a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch and mix until fully incorporated.
- Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk. Add ½ cup (120 ml) of the milk to the egg yolk mixture and mix until well combined. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat until fully incorporated.
- Over medium heat, whisk the mixture constantly until thickened, about 7-10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the butter, whisking to combine.
- Strain the custard into a bowl to ensure a creamy custard (optional). Cover the custard with plastic wrap, making sure that the plastic touches the custard, and chill for at least 2 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425˚F (220˚C).
- In a large pot, bring the water, butter, salt, and sugar to a boil over high heat.
- Once the water begins to boil, remove the pot from the heat and immediately add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed and the mixture begins to form a ball.
- Return the pot to the heat and cook for another 30 seconds to remove excess moisture. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Working quickly, add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until fully incorporated. Continue stirring until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and is thick and glossy. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Using a piping bag with a standard round tip, fill the bag with the batter.
- Place 1-inch (2 cm) dollops on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spaced at least 1-inch (2 cm) apart.
- Use a wet fingertip to gently press down any points on the puffs. Brush the egg wash over the the puffs.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375˚F (190˚C), and bake for 15 minutes.
- Let puffs cool completely.
- Use the bottom of a wooden skewer to create an opening in the bottom of the cream puff shells, just big enough for a piping tip to insert.
- Fill a piping bag fitting with a small round tip with the custard. Gently fill the puff shells with the custard.
- Add the sugar, corn syrup, and water to a pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and put the lid on, cooking for 5 minutes without moving. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 7-10 minutes, until the caramel is a deep amber color and reaches 300˚F (150˚C).
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the heavy cream, stirring vigorously.
- Working quickly, dip the cream puffs into the caramel and arrange on a serving platter in a circular pattern.
- Continue to stack caramel-dipped cream puffs in a tower shape.
- Once your tower is completed, dip a fork into the caramel sauce and drizzle it around the tower.
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