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Croquembouche Caramel Too Crunchy

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi Everyone - long time since I have been on here.  I have just made a batch of Tuiles for the first time...very successful, but holy moly how time consuming is that!? I seriously think these might just be one of those things that can be happily bought.  I am catering for a "casual" wedding party in July, and me and my big mouth...have to now start practising how to make a Croquembouche!  eeek....any suggestions and advice would be great.  I have ordered some plastic cones (similar to traffic cones), as I believe you can stick the profiteroles on the inside of the cone? Watch this space...:eek: 


Edited by kimmit - 4/11/14 at 6:10am
post #2 of 26

Hi Kimmit, when I last made a croquembouche we used a metal cones I am not certain that the plastic would work because the sugar is so hot wouldn't it melt the plastic?

Thanks,

Nicko 
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post #3 of 26
My daughter made croquembouche for her own wedding, using the moulds made by Lakeland.
post #4 of 26

 Croquembouches are assembled after the sugar has already solidified. They are merely arranged around the cone as a guide. So yes you can use any cone shaped medium.

post #5 of 26

@Dobzre You are much more experience than I but I swear I remember (this is years ago) that we dipped the pate choux in the sugar then placed them in the metal cone. Then when the sugar solidified this is what held it together. I am guessing that I am mis-remembering. So what holds the entire thing together after you assemble it?

Thanks,

Nicko 
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Nicko 
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post #6 of 26
They stack much like a honeycomb structure.
post #7 of 26
post #8 of 26

@Ishbel thanks for posting that link the video is almost exactly how I remember making a croquembouche. The only thing I remember the pastry chef doing differently was it was a large metal mold inverted and he placed the pate choux inside the mold not on the outside which really seems to just be a matter of preference.

 

@Dobzre if you look at the video in the link Ishbel posted this is what I remember. Dipping the pate choux into the sugar and assembling them one at a time. This way when the sugar solidifies the whole structure stays together.

Thanks,

Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
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post #9 of 26
Nicko, your way is the method I was taught at LCB, Paris aeons ago!

My daughter made three as table centres for her wedding in Greece a Couple of years ago. All went swimmingly, she made them the afternoon before the wedding. I noticed some ants in the villa and suggested they were stored in a kitchen cabinet..... disaster...


We came down early, to find that the spun caramel had turned back into sugar and melted.

Thankfully, there was a great patisserie in the next village. We drove over and they took pity on us and sold us a few large gateaux which took the place of the croquembouche!
Edited by Ishbel - 4/9/14 at 9:17am
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comments and links everyone.  The plastic cones work well, but my problem is the caramel is too hard.  I am going to attempt one with chocolate instead of caramel.  I fear this won't work well in the middle of summer though.  I am having a lot of fun experimenting and will post pics soon. :-)

Any more ideas/comments greatly appreciated. 

post #11 of 26

@Nicko and pulling them apart destroys the pastries. I've made one that way before back in culinary school. DISASTER. They stick to each other, rips the profiteroles open and makes the filling start to ooze out. With each successive pull it gets worse and worse. The chef pulled me aside and said its best not to stick them together from a customer standpoint. Just stack them around the cone and secure them in place with a star piped dollop of diplomat cream or something of that sort. That may be the traditional way but i'm thinking of the functionality from a consumer standpoint. I'm a modernist, functionality trumps tradition, if tradition is cumbersome.

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dobzre View Post
 

@Nicko and pulling them apart destroys the pastries. I've made one that way before back in culinary school. DISASTER. They stick to each other, rips the profiteroles open and makes the filling start to ooze out. With each successive pull it gets worse and worse. The chef pulled me aside and said its best not to stick them together from a customer standpoint. Just stack them around the cone and secure them in place with a star piped dollop of diplomat cream or something of that sort. That may be the traditional way but i'm thinking of the functionality from a consumer standpoint. I'm a modernist, functionality trumps tradition, if tradition is cumbersome.

Yup, Dobzre, that is my problem.  The caramel makes them stick too much and destroys them when trying to get them apart!  Perhaps the answer is one tower for the aesthetics, and then lots of platters of profiteroles for eating! 

post #13 of 26

@Dobzre You are so right I never would of thought of that.l have made one you obviously have the experience. Excellent call out about them sticking together so much they tear and rip. Thanks for the excellen tip.

Thanks,

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post #14 of 26

If you have the patience, I would definitely make a "dummy" tower with no filling in the profiteroles for display and serve the real ones on platters.

 

Guess I know what i'll do for Christmas this year!

post #15 of 26

Here's a link to  French Chef Vincent Gadan's class

 

 

 

 

Hope this helps! :)

post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadepearl View Post
 

Here's a link to  French Chef Vincent Gadan's class

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtWLBItWEmI#t=162

Hope this helps! :)

Brilliant link thanks jadepearl! 

post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 

Not perfect, but it stuck together and everyone loved it.  The white around the base are white flowers.  It went down a treat, and so did the platters of profiteroles.  I made over 300 (for 70 people) and could have/should have made double that! Whew, it is over. 

post #18 of 26

Beautiful!

Now you can sit down and put up your feet.

Have a glass of wine for me!

 

mimi

post #19 of 26
Nice job Kimmit !
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicko View Post

@Ishbel
 thanks for posting that link the video is almost exactly how I remember making a croquembouche. The only thing I remember the pastry chef doing differently was it was a large metal mold inverted and he placed the pate choux inside the mold not on the outside which really seems to just be a matter of preference.

@Dobzre
 if you look at the video in the link Ishbel posted this is what I remember. Dipping the pate choux into the sugar and assembling them one at a time. This way when the sugar solidifies the whole structure stays together.

That is exactly how I still make them.
If kept in a cool area , there is no problem making it during the summer months. Display an hour prior to serving.

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post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

post #21 of 26

Hello Ishbel

My daughter would also like a croquembouche, but we are wondering how to make it without having to rush around like made things on the morning of the wedding?  How did you daughter manage?  Perhaps she is a professional cook, anyway?  (We're most definitely not!)

Thanks.

post #22 of 26

Hi @AngieCook welcome to Chef Talk!

 

Have you tried to make one yet?

It looks intimidating but once you have the components down it is just an assembly line really.

Will this be the only sweet or do you have a dessert table in mind?

 

mimi

post #23 of 26

I'm not a pastry chef and I helped another non-pastry-chef friend make one a few years ago. As Mimi says, they aren't so much hard to do as they are labor intensive. You need to make a lot of profiteroles, then you have to fill them and stack them. That is all. Except for the caramel. I admit, I left that to my friend. With the caramel, you need to A.) watch it like a hawk so it doesn't burn and B.) be very focused and mindful while spinning it. It burns like a b***tch.

post #24 of 26

Hello - thanks for your quick comments!  Yes, I made a couple of small ones and didn't find them too difficult, as long as I baked the pastry long enough so that the buns didn't collapse. I tried filling them with cream chantilly first, then with thick custard and both of those seemed to work fine.  however, as I suspected from reading lots of internet wisdom, the caramel softened very quickly. The first one was served within a couple of hours of eating, and that was fine: the second one, I made in the morning and by evening - approximately 10 hours later - all the caramel had melted and the tower had collapsed!  No problem, it still tasted good.

 

I experimented with a tiny tower stuck together with chocolate - BBC Good Food has a recipe for one with white chocolate and limoncello cream - so am wondering if white chocolate would be a good alternative.  Any suggestions for fillings/decoration?  And yes, there would be other desserts - this would be a centrepiece 'cake' for the bride and groom to cut.

post #25 of 26

 
You are cooking the caramel to the hard crack stage. Cook less and use candy thermometer if you have one

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post #26 of 26

@AngieCook ,

  This is a beautiful display for a wedding. It is also hard to serve. I have done many of them.

If I'm going to serve the profiteroles from the display I prefer chocolate. They come apart much easier. The caramel is supposed to be hard and crunchy. If soft it is a mess.

True Croquembouche is difficult to get apart. Not only that, I would not serve a cream based product after it has sat out for hours.

   For the last couple of years I have talked the bride into a display crouq. I also use a cone to build up height. The cones are easily made and covered with plain or colored foil. They are not really seen. I then have a couple of puffs so that they can have a quasi cake cut. The rest I have served either pre-plated from the kitchen with sauce or on display platters.

The display can be made in advance as long as it stays dry and away from refrigeration. The chocolate displays can sit out for as long as you need them.

Just a thought.

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