Lemon Cream Croquembouche
A Croquembouche Recipe is elegant and impressive. This tower of cream-filled choux pastry will make jaws drop!!!
Making a cream puff tower wrapped in caramel threads has been on my bucket list for years. It took a push from my pastry chef friend, Jenni, to create this Lemon Cream Croquembouche. Mission accomplished!
Why You Must Make
- If you’re looking for a show-stopping dessert, this is it!
- Do you love cream puffs? This is a cream puff dessert on steroids!!!
- Looking for a holiday centerpiece? A croquembouche’s pyramidal shape resembles a Christmas tree and would be beautiful on a buffet or as the focal piece on your table.
A group of intrepid bloggers, who occasionally like to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones, decided to make Valentine’s-themed croquembouche. Traditionally, a croquembouche is a tower of cream puffs filled with vanilla pastry cream and held together with caramelized sugar (the crispy part).
How to Make
- Preheat the oven and prep the baking sheets.
- Make the choux dough by bringing butter, salt, and water to a boil.
- Vigorously stir in the flour off the heat.
- Return pan to heat and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, to dry the dough, about 2 more minutes.
- Cool briefly, then mix in the eggs one at a time.
- Scoop rounds of dough onto the baking sheet, glaze with an egg wash, and bake as directed.
- Make your filling and pipe into the cream puffs.
- Make the caramel.
- Arrange your cream puffs on a form, using the caramel as glue. Details in the recipe.
- When the caramel thickens slightly, dip in 2 forks, covering the tines. Tap the tines together then pull them apart to make strands of caramel. Wrap the strands around the puffs and repeat.
I’ve been making cream puffs for decades, so that component of a croquembouche was not daunting. The gluing of the choux together with caramel to form a cone, then spinning a web of sugar to encase it was another story. But before I started, I had to decide whether to stack the cream puffs free form or use a template on which to glue them.
Hunting through my myriad kitchen supplies for anything cone-shaped, all I could improvise was a large plastic funnel taped on a plate. I whipped up the cream puffs, filled them, and set out to make the caramel.
So, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with how to make cream puffs and caramel before starting your creation. Plus I recommend finding a food-safe cone on which to mount your croquembouche.
Lemon Filling vs. Pastry Cream
The classic filling for the cream puffs in a croquembouche is vanilla pastry cream, but I wanted to shake it up. I whipped some cream and sugar to soft peaks, then added a few tablespoons of tart, citrusy lemon curd.
The combination was so fresh and light and a terrific complement to the spun sugar and cream puffs. My lemon Cream Croquembouche was complete! A group of my blogger friends is also sharing their masterpieces today. Please check out their versions of this elaborate French dessert below.
And once you master the cream puff, AKA profiterole or chou à la crème, you’ll have so many desserts and appetizers you can create! I often make Gougeres for an appetizer when entertaining. They’re savory cream puffs flavored with Gruyere cheese! These S’mores Cream Puffs are a summer twist on profiteroles, filled with a toasted marshmallow and a mini milk chocolate bar. And this Cream Puff Dessert from my friend, Valerie, avoids having to make individual cream puffs, but the results are an exquisite dessert!
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is a croquembouche? Literally translated from French, it’s crisp in mouth. Not a lot of help, eh? I’ll continue with the definition from The Food Lover’s Companion: this elaborate dessert is classically made with profiteroles (custard-filled cream puffs), coated with caramel, and stacked into a tall pyramid shape.
Place sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, till the sugar turns light amber. Remove from heat.
Build your croquembouche while the caramel cools slightly. It should be the consistency of honey when it’s ready.
Dip 2 forks into the caramel and cover the tines with the syrup. Tap the tines together and then pull them apart repeatedly till threads of sugar develop.
Quickly move the treads to the cone of puffs and wrap it around the cone. Repeat numerous times till you cover the exterior with a web of sugar threads.
You May Also Like
PLUS check out these “croques” from some blogger friends:
- Cream Puff Tower from Barbara Bakes
- Dulce de Leche Croquembouche from Ansh of Spice Roots
- Chocolate Orange Croquembouche from Laura of Mother Would Know
- Petit Croquembouche Citron Framboise from Stacy of Food Lust, People Love
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
- A pinch of kosher salt
- 2 cups flour
- 9 eggs, divided (8 for dough, 1 to glaze dough)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon curd
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Preheat oven to 425°. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. Bring butter, salt, and 1½ cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat.
- Remove pan from heat, add flour all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 2 minutes.
- Return pan to heat and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, try dry dough, about 2 more minutes.
- Let dough cool 5 minutes, then beat in eggs, one at a time, waiting till each is incorporated before adding the next.
- Using a medium sized cookie scoop, dip in water, shaking off excess before scooping out rounds of dough and placing them on the baking sheets one inch apart.
- Lightly beat remaining egg with a teaspoon of water and brush each piece of dough with it. Bake until puffed and light brown, about 10 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350°, and continue to bake until well browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
- To make filling, whip cream with 1 tablespoon sugar to soft peaks. Beat in lemon curd to firm peaks.
- Using a pastry bag with a small tip, poke a hole in the side or bottom of each puff and fill with cream. Keep filled puffs cool while preparing caramel.
- Place sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, till the sugar turns light amber. Remove from heat.
- If you have a cone form, cover it with non-stick paper so caramel will not adhere to form. Place cone on serving plate. One at a time, dip the sides of the cream puffs in caramel and starting from the bottom, make a circle of puffs using the caramel as glue to adhere to the cone.
- Top the bottom layer of cream puffs with a smaller circle of cream puffs and continue till you can place one cream puff on top.
- By this time, the caramel will have thickened slightly. It should be the consistency of honey.
- Dip 2 forks into the caramel and cover the tines with the syrup. Tap the tines together and then pull apart repeatedly till threads of sugar develop.
- Quickly move the treads to the cone of puffs and wrap it around the cone. Repeat numerous times till you cover the exterior with a web of sugar threads.
- Serve within 4 hours.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 348Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 168mgSodium: 74mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 1gSugar: 38gProtein: 8g
Thatskinnychickcanbake.com occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although thatskinnychickcanbake.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on thatskinnychickcanbake.com recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.