Saturday, December 4, 2010

Croquembouche (Part 2), Sugar Syrup

Chef Gert Looking Over His Croquembouche

If my ferocious whinging has put the fear of the Croq in you, I apologize for that was not my intent. Sure molten caramel burns like lava and when set cuts like glass, but it had me cussing in the kitchen little more than usual, and with my creme pat properly cooked and choux baked right with their trademark hollow interior, piping the profiteroles was a breeze too.

Truth is, it depresses me to know this particular creation I will so lovingly give life to is sadly ephemeral, for it stands no chance against the elements. Creme pat is highly perishable, left more than 4 hours at room temperature, it will go bad and KILL YOU, while the heat and humidity melts the caramel coating into a sticky mess and renders the glue holding the structure in place soft and unstable. Refrigeration? A double-edged sword, it may keep the creme pat from going off but the moisture-rich environment will only deteriorate the caramel with equal efficiency.

Yet as my Croq came to being, I started to appreciate why there are people (including friends of ours) who continue to request for this bastion of French tradition to mark their special day: a majestic tower of profiteroles each covered in a sheen of golden caramel, punctuated sparingly with intricate marzipan roses, wrapped in a blanket of delicate spun sugar that glistens like morning dew, all resting on a decadently edible platform of golden nougatine to match this proud symbol of grandeur and dramatic flair. Indeed there can be no cake more fitting of a celebration than the Croq.

Coating With Caramel, Filling With Creme Patisserie

Building The Cone, Demolding

The coated and filled roles are dipped in caramel to adhere them in place on a cardboard cone. Once the caramel hardens and sets the roles in place, the cone is carefully coaxed out so as not to damage the structure, which is then placed in the center of the nougatine stand.

Intricate Icing Sugar Lacework

Marzipan flowers are a popular decorative feature while icing sugar is piped on for a splash of white against gold, the classic matrimonial colors. Just another feature which makes this is a perennial wedding favorite.

Marzipan Oinks

Pour Claire & Ross

Yes, I built my grand centerpiece into the container for easy packing and transportation, as I needed it to survive the journey home and last till tomorrow when we have friends over for a barbie. I was quite taken aback when I saw my finished work, it didn't turn out too bad at all! I left the cone in to keep the profiteroles in place, as I did not cement them with as much caramel as Chef did; they held onto the roles so tightly it was impossible to pry them off without breaking.

So I may not be able to prevent the eventually and all-too-soon demise of my Croq, but it was a good experience making it and I finished with a great deal of pride and satisfaction.

Marzipan Roses


  1. your croquembouche looks fantastic! hey dude are you able to make it to the sydney food bloggers picnic on sat?

  2. Gorgeous! Glad to have just discovered your blog - yours will be a fascinating adventure to watch. Don't worry, mums the word.