December 14, 2013
1 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This recipe will make a small tower like the one shown. Triple or quadruple the recipe for a showy croquembouche. —Camille Becerra

What You'll Need
  • Pate Choux
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Pastry Cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. On medium-high heat bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a simmer. When the butter has completely melted, add the flour and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon. With every bit of elbow grease you can muster, continue mixing for 4 minutes. A mass of dough will form and it will begin to come away from the sides and bottom of the pot. Remove from the heat and transfer dough to a stand mixer outfitted with a paddle attachment. Add eggs one at a time, making sure each is consumed by the dough before you add the next. You can also leave it in the pot and mix by hand.
  3. Cool for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally to release steam. When cool enough to handle, transfer into a piping bag. Pipe out 1-inch rounds. Smooth out any pointy peaks by dipping your finger in water and gently pressing them out; this will ensure an even bake. Bake until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes. Allow them to cool then fill them with pastry cream.
  4. For the pastry cream: In a small heavy-bottomed pot, warm the milk gently to a simmer. If you want to flavor your pastry cream, do so now: You can use vanilla, lavender, or even a chai tea bag. Allow a half hour for the flavors to mature, and then reheat back to a simmer.
  5. Meanwhile, mix the sugar, salt, yolks, and cornstarch together in a bowl. Temper by adding half of the hot milk into eggs, whisking feverishly. Add the egg mixture back to the milk and stir constantly with a wooden spoon on medium high heat until it coats the back of the spoon. Immediately transfer to a bowl and stir a couple minutes to cool down, then add the butter and mix well. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the cream so as not to create a skin. Chill until completely cooled.
  6. Transfer to a piping bag, poke each cream puff gently with the tip of the bag, and fill.
  7. For caramel, place 2 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a pan, stir to combine, and cover. Cook over medium-high for about 15 minutes, until the caramel is a light amber.
  8. With tongs, gently dip each cream puff into the caramel and begin to start stacking your croquembouche. Make sure your base is sturdy and continue upwards. Once you are done mounting reheat, your caramel until it turns a darker shade of amber. Allow to cool for a few minutes until it resembles the constituency of honey, then with a spoon drizzle it about, try to get thin stings of the caramel to wrap around. I also drizzled some ganache over everything and dusted it with powdered sugar.
  9. Eat within 2 to 3 hours, as the caramel will start to soften.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • celia younger
    celia younger
  • Hailey7
  • Jen
  • Phyllis Grant
    Phyllis Grant
  • 702551

13 Reviews

Eliza February 29, 2016
I think you have a little typo in step 8; pretty sure you meant "consistency" not "constituency."
celia Y. February 29, 2016
my borther's wedding cake was a castle made of croquembouche.
Hailey7 December 27, 2013
I made this for Christmas dessert and it was beautiful! Once I got past the difficulty of learning to use my piping bag, the Croquembouche was so much fun to assemble, and fun to eat! The small tower was more than enough for four large appetites, as it's very rich.
Jen December 23, 2013
Can you make the plain cream puffs in advance? If so how many days do you think they'll stay fresh for? Thanks!
702551 March 1, 2016
Yes you can. In fact, choux actually freeze and defrost well.
hummusforall December 18, 2013
ooh haunting photo. Tip from Martha Stewart I found helpful: cut a wire whisk in half and use it to drizzle the caramel.
CAROLINA M. December 18, 2013
OMG it looks beautiful, almost too pretty to eat; especially after all that hard work. The pate a choux recipe is great for plain cream puffs or eclairs, I did notice though it's very important not to over cook the dough over the stove.
Its very YUMMY!!!!
Lizbeth101 December 18, 2013
I've seen pictures of beautiful Croquembouche. This looks like someone threw an old fishing net over the choux. Not appealing!
sophie December 18, 2013
That doesn't seem like a very kind thing to say to someone who's just a home cook and took so much time to make such a complicated dessert. I think it looks amazing with the powdered sugar floating in the air over it.
littleman December 19, 2013
Welllllll, not exactly:
702551 March 1, 2016
Lizbeth101 does have a point. The aesthetics of the photographed croquembouche come up a bit short.

A professional pastry chef would use a greased metal cone specifically to build a more even tapered tower. A home chef can improvise such a cone with cardboard and aluminum foil.
Julie February 15, 2020
I’m afraid to go to your website due to the lack of an s after the http. Is it safe?
Phyllis G. December 18, 2013
this is so awesome