Croqembouche

Ed Baines' spectacular caramel coated tower makes an eye-catching centrepiece
By Ed Baines
Croqembouche
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Serves 6-8 (makes 24 buns)
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

main

  • 1/2 litre milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp fine caster sugar
  • 130 g butter
  • 250 g plain flour, sieved
  • 8 eggs

For the Crème Chantilly:

  • 400 ml cream, chilled
  • 100 ml milk, chilled
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 40 g caster sugar

For the Sugar Syrup:

  • 500 g caster sugar
  • 100 ml water

To decorate:

  • chocolate

Method

1. Make the choux buns. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and lightly grease a baking sheet. Place the milk, salt, sugar and butter in a pan and bring to the boil over a gentle heat. When the mixture starts to bubble, add the flour and stir continuously for 1 minute until the mixture is thick and starts to come away from the side of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

2. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle, and pipe 24 buns onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

3. Make the Crème Chantilly. Place the cream, milk and vanilla sugar in a bowl and whip until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the caster sugar and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate.

4. Spoon the Crème Chantilly into a piping bag and fill the choux buns.

5. For the caramel, place the sugar and water into a heavy based saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Continue to cook until the mixture turns a golden caramel colour. Remove from the heat and immediately plunge the base of the pan into cold water.

6. Quickly and carefully dip the buns into the caramel to create a pyramid. Pour the remaining caramel over the Croqembouche.

7. Decorate with chocolate if desired.

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