How is a Croquembouche Served?
Posted: 24 February 2013 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4783
Joined  2008-04-16

I’m considering a croquembouche (cream puff tower) for a larger group function, but how does one successfully serve that?  When I think of trying to pry the delicate little cream puffs off the base, I’m worried that they may all end up semi-crushed and with holes in them from where the caramel (used to affix the puff to the cone-shaped base) was stronger than the puff. 

Does anyone have experience or tips on serving one of these towers?

 Signature 

B&T Blog:  Cultured Butter Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 February 2013 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3147
Joined  2010-04-25

Hi, Julie!

I have no experience, myself, but I found the following tidbit here - http://www.wedding-cakes.co.uk/croquembouche.php  They appear to make them for weddings and have some info on croquembouche options, as it were, that might be interesting.

High humidity softens the caramel making the croquembouche easy to pull apart. This occurs naturally in marquees, but otherwise a steamy kitchen is ideal. Serve three choux balls per guest as dessert, with a chocolate or caramel sauce, or one choux ball as wedding cake.

It also mentions that it relies on the correct balance of caramel to allow it to both hold together and be dismantled.

Let us know how it goes!  I have a cookbook with a recipe for this, and I’ve eyed it several times!!!

—ak

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 February 2013 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3147
Joined  2010-04-25

You also might want to check YouTube - there’s a number of croquembouche videos, and one might include serving.  I’m going to watch some tonight!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 February 2013 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4783
Joined  2008-04-16

Thanks, Anne for pointing those out!  I had definitely been thinking about the quantity of caramel used, trying to keep it to the minimum that will still get the job done, but I hadn’t considered steam/humidity.  Food for thought smile

 Signature 

B&T Blog:  Cultured Butter Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 February 2013 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3147
Joined  2010-04-25

Hi, Julie!

I watched several croquembouche videos, and I saw several methods of asembly and piping:

Some pipe in a circular motion; others one consistent pipe, about 1cm above, to make a round “pile.”

Some cut in half and fill, some pipe into a natural break (that comes from piping in a circular motion), some poke a hole in the bottom and fill.

Some “glue” in place with filling, which is kind of disgusting; some use toothpicks into a foam cone covered with paper. The one that seems most “real” is where you dip the top of all of them (which gives them some time to firm up a little, then dip the bottom row (one at a time), in each case, waiting for the previous one to set before adding another.  The next rows are supposed to go more quickly than the first foundational row.

This video uses the consistent pipe, bottom fill, more “real” method of putting together:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtWLBItWEmI

This video goes through the whole process, and it doesn’t even use a cone:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zRiqar8Wgk  His sugar spinning process is worth seeing—he uses forks back to back, but he doesn’t rub them. He just whips them back and forth in the air, and it drops a spun sugar “fabric” onto parchment that he then wraps around the croquembouche.

I’ll bet you could plate them with a chocie of sauces—fruit or even chocolate sauce (for a sort of DIY eclaire).

I can’t wait to hear about yours!!!

—ak

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 February 2013 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4783
Joined  2008-04-16

I saw a lot of those videos as well, very enlightening.  The presentation I was thinking of was a tower beside a “lake”, with the lake being made either of caramel or Rose’s shiny cocoa glaze, and a few cream puff swans to go with the lake.  I think I’m more excited about the swans than I am about the tower, and I’m not even sure why as I usually don’t go in for a lot of decorating.  The guest of honor likes eclairs more than cake, which is how I got started thinking about the cream puff tower and choco lake. 

However, I’m still a little uneasy about the whole issue of breaking apart the tower for serving.  I’ve seen it done with a sword (traditional method), and I’ve thought that maybe some sort of nice looking chisel/hammer combo might work.  Probably need to make a small test tower and practice breaking it apart to see what works.

I prefer not to let the tower sit long enough for humidity to soften the caramel, because by then the filling will have also softened the crispy puffs and made them soggy.  I’m even thinking about ways I might be able to coat the inside of the puffs with chocolate in order to moisture-proof them and keep them crispy.  Lots of details to plan!

 Signature 

B&T Blog:  Cultured Butter Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 February 2013 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3147
Joined  2010-04-25

From what I’ve read, I think the sword was ceremonial and not really used to serve them, but I could be wrong.  One site left the top puffs empty for a neather swording.

Most places I’ve seen say you have to assemble it pretty close to serving—maybe the caramel doesn’t get to set as much that way.

Here’s a link to a video where chocolate is used (instead of caramel) to assemble—that seems like it would make it easier to remove them—and you could still spin sugar and make a caramel dipping lake.  They use toothpicks here, though, into a cone, which is maybe necessary if you use chocolate.

Another idea is, if you’re doing a lake, is you can put the cream puffs in a circle around the lake, rather than as a tower.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 February 2013 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4783
Joined  2008-04-16
Anne in NC - 26 February 2013 04:23 PM

From what I’ve read, I think the sword was ceremonial and not really used to serve them

Yes, they seem to sort of lop the top of the tower off, makes me wonder if the practice harkens back to the French revolution…

Another idea is, if you’re doing a lake, is you can put the cream puffs in a circle around the lake, rather than as a tower.

You know, you’re right- I could even pile them all on a platter or two and set them up next to the dipping pools.  I was sort of thinking that this might be a good opportunity to practice a tower in a low-risk setting, but the idea of simplifying is appealing. smile

 Signature 

B&T Blog:  Cultured Butter Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 March 2014 04:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  4
Joined  2014-03-06

I wanna help you, I know how to do it but I’m not good in explaining the procedure. If you want your croquembouche to be stable, make sure your caramel is cooked. Check my recipe and technique on caramel here. Hope this will help.

Image Attachments
1450283_761696570510472_1925798393_n.jpg
Profile
 
 
   
  Back to top