Simple Salted Caramel Croquembouche

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Croquembouche reminds me of my dad.  I think it is because one of my memories of my dad’s baking was when he graduated from baking school and he made a Croquembouche as his final project. I am not too sure why that memory stands out to me because I was probably only 3 or 4 at the time.  I know there’s a picture somewhere of my dad, mom and I standing next to his Croquembouche.   

Just recently I purchased a copy of Fine Cooking Magazine and on the cover was a Croquembouche.  I decided I would try and make this tower of deliciousness instead I would make it my way, which is the simple way.  I decided not to make my own cream puffs and used cream puffs purchased from the grocery store.

 

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Simple Salted Caramel Croquembouche

recipe inspired by:fine cooking

Ingredients:

4 x 12-inch styrofoam cone covered in foil
toothpicks
approximately 65 store bought or home made cream puffs
batch of Salted Caramel (recipe below)

Salted Caramel:

2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbs. sea salt

Have a large bowl of ice water ready. Put the sugar and salt in a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan. Add 2/3 cup water and swirl to moisten the sugar. Cover and boil over high heat until starting to turn golden around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the lid and cook, swirling occasionally, until the caramel is light golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Immediately put the bottom of the pot in the ice water to stop the cooking. Remove the pot from the water and put it on a heatproof surface.

Directions:

How to assemble the Croquembouche:

 
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Have a small bowl of ice water nearby. Put the foil-wrapped cone on a serving platter. Insert a toothpick about 1 inch from the base of the cone.

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Dip the side of a large cream puff into the hot caramel to coat the side and about a third of the top of the puff.

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Immediately press the cream puff onto the toothpick, with the top facing out. Insert another toothpick parallel to the first pick, positioning it so that the next puff will fit snugly against its neighbor. Dip another cream puff and nestle it against the first. Repeat, making your way up and around the cone, working from the largest to the smallest puffs. If you get any hot caramel on your fingers, immediately dip them into the ice water to stop the burn.

When the caramel becomes too thick to dip, swirl it over low heat to thin it—it will darken a little each time you do this.croquemboucheAs the caramel cools and thickens, it will begin to spin into long, thin threads as you pull the puffs from the pot. Before attaching the puff, circle the cone with the puff so the spun caramel drapes the

When the cone is completely covered with puffs, dip a fork into the caramel and continue to pull the caramel threads from the pot and spin them around the croquembouche until you’re happy with its appearance. Serve any extra cream puffs on the side.

 

 recipe inspired by: fine cooking

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