Christmas Croquembouche

Christmas Croquembouche | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

A croquembouche (kroke-em-boosh) is a tower of profiteroles (cream puffs) stuck together with a thin layer of crisp caramel, which gives the dessert its name, “crocque em bouche” or “crunches in the mouth.” This dramatic pile of puffs is typically served at weddings, but I’ve taken liberties and find it a worthy dessert for any big occasion. A Christmas Croquembouche seems like the perfect way to celebrate this holiday season. The puffs are made of choux paste and are filled with mango pastry cream, which isn’t a flavor you might think of for a Christmas dessert, but it is such a wonderful contrast to the sweet of the caramel. When you break into the cream puffs you’ll find the rich, creamy golden filling.  Just to jazz it up and to continue the holiday theme I added snowflake sugar cookies that I made with an olive oil sugar cookie recipe from my friend Sarah Kieffer’s book, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. Then I spun some sugar into fine threads and wrapped it around the tower of puffs in a garland.

You can watch me make this Christmas Croquembouche in my Instagram video.

Christmas Croquembouche | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

1 recipe Pâte à Choux – piped into 5 dozen Profiteroles (Cream Puffs), as seen in my profiterole instagram video. Bake as instructed in the eclair post. ~ (can be made ahead and frozen for up to two weeks)

Mango Crème pâtissière (pastry cream) ~ (can be made a few days ahead and stored in the refrigerator)

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups mango pulp

9 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup corn starch

Pinch salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or a vanilla bean, split and scraped

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3 tablespoons rum, optional

6 ounces white chocolate, chopped finely

Click here for directions on making pastry cream, I just replaced some of the milk with the mango, but otherwise the same process.

Caramel for assembling the spinning the threads ~ (made the day it is used, but can be reheated and reused – see video)

3 cups sugar

2 tablespoons corn syrup

1/2 cup water

To make caramel, follow these directions

See my Christmas Croquembouche instagram video to watch me make the caramel threads.

1 recipe Olive Oil Cookie Dough from Sarah Kieffer’s book The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, as seen on her website The Vanilla Bean Blog. I used hazelnuts instead of the pistachios, but you decide which nut to go with. I stamped out the rolled dough with a snowflake cutter, added a toothpick (which bakes in to create a stick to poke into the Christmas Croquembouche, dusted them with sparkle sugar and baked until golden. You can watch me make the snowflake cookies on a stick in my Instagram video.

See my Instagram video to watch me assemble the Christmas Croquembouche. This dessert can be made over a few days, but you need to assemble it the day you are going to serve it.

Typically you would use a Croquembouche Form to assemble the tower, but the one I bought was ENORMOUS, so I improvised and made one for the amount of profiteroles I had.

Christmas Croquembouche | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

Christmas Croquembouche | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë FrançoisChristmas Croquembouche | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François