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Croquembouche questions


chef koo
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Hi guys

I'm baking a croquembouche for a party. I just want some insight into my overall idea. It's a bit long so I appreciate your thoughts.

I don't want chantilly since it's going to be a room temp for a while and I'm guessing that chantilly will soften too much and make the choux soggy. So I'm thinking of resorting to a mousse. Mousses made with gelatin hold up quite well I've heard but I've never made mousse like that before.

What do you guys think of the chantilly vs the mousse thing? I was thinking of boiling the cream and thickening it with corn starch if I was making a chantilly. Would that work and if so how would it hold up to the gelatin stabled mousse?

As for flavors, I'm going with 3. Chocolate, lemon and vanilla. The chocolate mousse will be standard or if it's a chantilly I'm just going to add cocoa powder to the chantilly.

As for the lemon I was going to make a lemon curd once it was cooled I was going to fold in whipped egg whites and whipped cream

For the vanilla, the chantilly would be self explanatory. For a mousse I was thinking of making a pastry cream and like the lemon, folding in egg whites and cream

As for the choux itself, I'm going for flavor 100%. I figure it's going to soften anyways so I may as well not worry about it being crispy. So I'm going for my standard go to recipe

1 cup flour

125 g butter

1 cup milk

pinch of salt and sugar

5 eggs

And then it's just going to get baked the standard way.

As for assembly, I don't want to use caramel. I'm thinking that if you use caramel that you risk the profiterole sticking too much and when you go to take one off you might tear it. I was thinking of studding the tower with tooth picks. But I'm worried that without anything to actually adhere to, that they might just fall off. Any thought?

And lastly, how much choux should I make for 50 profiteroles?

Thanks in advance

Edited by chef koo (log)

bork bork bork

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I like using creme diplomat for those kind of things. Pastry creme with whipped cream folded in. By all means add gelatin to the pastry creme to make it more stable.

Depends on how big you make them. I'm say around 3-4 pounds.

It ain't a croquembouche without caramel. Never been a big problem for me, it's not like you're using a lot to stick it. I suppose you could use coating chocolate or tempered chocolate, but it's not the same.

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Is there a particular reason for the 3 fillings? I've made a croquembouche before and most people are likely to eat max 2 choux and I doubt they'd want different flavours!

I use pure pastry cream and to be a croquembouche IMO it has to have caramel!! Sure it makes a mess when served, but it is one of those desserts that looks pretty as a whole, once it is in the bowl it isn't going to look impressive anyway!

Depending on the fillings and the room temperature ... most of it is going to go soggy (the caramel actually helps with crispness) and you'll have issues with creams going off.

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I'm a purist as well. If you're going for the drama of a croquembouche, go for the authenticity and do the pastry cream filling and attach with caramel. If you're looking to make it a little more adventurous on the palate, do three separate choux on a plate, each garnished or dipped with something different. This would help you with the storage (keep them chilled until plated/served) as well.

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I've read this twice, and I just keep thinking that that's a lot of toothpicks...

...and not a croquembouche.

Croquembouche is essentially a showpiece. Done well, it looks nice, it can be impressive and it takes skill. Yes, it's generally meant to be eaten but it's just not particularly practical as party food for people to graze on. Lisa already offered the best advice I can think of. I'm not suggesting you shouldn't do it if you want to, I just think you may end up happier in the long run with what she suggested. Even if you don't want to be tied down to filling on the fly, you could fill them closer to party time than you could build the croquembouche and place them on the table around it so they can grab them while admiring your work.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Let me rephrase my title. It's not a croquembouche question. It's a lot of profiteroles stacked in a tower question. I'm going for looks and taste. Texture isn't my top priority. I'm going to maximize it however not at the expense of the look or the flavor of the tower.

Edited by chef koo (log)

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I don't like the idea of serving anything with toothpicks in it at all. I don't personally serve anything with them at all, ever -at home, or work. I only have them in my kitchen for doing fine detail work on sugar flowers and marzipan showpieces, not food someone will eat.

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I agree with everyone going for caramel, and not just because that's what a croquembouche "is". Even though you're going for top taste rather than tradition, I think caramel fits perfectly in the equation... the crunchiness is welcome against the creamy/luscious filling, and the burst of sugar is lovely with the other elements that aren't necessarily very sweet.

But if you're adamant about that, what about chocolate as glue? Should provide a bit of support but without the sticky resistance of toffee.

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