It’s crunch time. The assembly of the croquembouche makes me nervous. I’m working with molten sugar and staking cream puffs at the same time. Take too much time and the sugar hardens and I have to reheat it. Take too little time and the profiteroles fall out of place and I’m left with a leaning tower of profiteroles.
Croquembouches are bound together essentially with hardened sugar. This molten sugar is extraordinarily hot and will burn you despite it’s pretty appearance. Use a stainless steal pan to create the “binder” as I’ve found that pans coated with Teflon or any non-sticky surface prevent the sugar from melting properly.Ingredients
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Prepare an ice-water bath. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, washing down sides of pan often with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Cook, without stirring, until sugar dissolves, 5 to 6 minutes. Raise heat to high, and cook, swirling pan to color evenly, until syrup is amber, about 5 minutes. Remove caramel from heat, and set bottom of pan in ice-water bath for a few seconds to stop the cooking. Use immediately. If you find that the sugar has hardened before your croquembouche is completed, reheat the sugar until it has melted and place in ice bath again.
- Dip the ends of the profiteroles in the caramel and create the base circle of the croquembouche using the caramel as a “glue.” Repeat with a smaller circle until a pyramid shape is formed. I’ve had luck creating towers of 15-20 using this method (and not using a cone as support).