I know Masterchef All Stars recently did an episode on the croquembouche but I swear I’ve been planning on making this LONG before the show!
Masterchef really hyped the contestants’ dread and fear of the croquembouche and I get it now! Safe to say, I will not be making another croquembouche anytime soon!
On the weekend, I was lamenting to C that the motivation to keep baking on a weekly basis is really waning on me and that sometimes, I wouldn't mind just vegging on the couch! C decided to share some of the burden I placed on myself to bake on a weekly basis and together we worked on the croquembouche. C and I were working wonderfully together and everything was going seamlessly with C making the choux pastry while I made the crème patissiere which was followed by the caramel making and finally gluing all the profiteroles together in the cardboard cone we had made. It was all relatively simple and after we completed the croquembouche, I really didn't understand why the croquembouche was so feared? It took a few hours later to realise why.
After letting the caramel harden, we decided to unveil the masterpiece and as we gently peeled the cardboard cone away, we discovered that we hadn’t used enough caramel to glue each profiterole together and the whole thing just crumbled before our eyes. Noooooooo!!! *BIG WAIL* *sob sob*
Take two. Another batch of caramel and this time, I was NOT going gentle on the caramel, drizzling it all down the cone making sure each profiterole was glued together!
Another few hours later, and voila, a profiterole tower that stands! YAY! *happy dance*
I love how the caramel has formed little stalactites after I drizzled the caramel down the cone.
I was too frightened to make the “nest” that surrounds the croquembouche, fearful that the slightest weight may disturb the integrity of the structure. So instead, I gently decorated with sugar flowers which I think looks just as pretty.
After a few hours when I realised the tower wasn’t going to collapse, we decided to make the nest as we’d come this far! I have to say that I really do NOT enjoy working with sugar, which is a bit unfortunate because it’s quite integral to baking! Haha
So the first batch of spun sugar didn’t quite work out well as the sugar began to crystallise in the pan and we weren’t getting the fine strands of spun sugar, so we had to throw that batch out and start all over again. Arghhh..!! Take two and this time we added liquid glucose to prevent the sugar from crystallising. Thankfully batch number two worked out! It is actually quite tiring on the arms getting the fine strands of sugar, constantly flicking the whisk back and forth really REALLY quickly. Lucky C did most of the hard work hehe!
And there you have it, croquembouche complete with a nest.
I love the look of the spun sugar!
Oh and for anyone wanting to attempt a croquembouche, you don’t need to go out and buy one of those expensive metal cones. You can just make your own out of some cardboard and baking paper - it's really easy and much more cost effective (unless you plan to be making lots of these then a metal cone may be a worthwhile investment).