Croquembouche Cupcakes

Croquembouche Cupcakes ~ Cream filled profiteroles mounted into the shape of a pyramid, known as Piece Montée, which literally means “mounted piece” or more widely known as a Croquembouche.

 

Croquembouche Cupcake

This was my first challenge for the Daring Bakers and my first time making a Croquembouche. I decided to side step the traditional form for a miniaturize cupcake version.

Okay, so how hard is it to make this?  It’s not, but for some reason I really struggled with it.

Yesterday was like a kitchen explosion of baking gone bad. At one point I slammed my coffee to re-calibrate my brain, but to no avail. This was of course after ruining the second run of the cream patisserie. Word to all: Don’t take pictures (unless someone else can do it for you) at a pivotal part of the recipe, i.e. the whisking of the eggs into hot liquids, lest you want curdled crap!

Finally after getting the cream to the right consistency, I screwed up the pate choux twice as well. Somehow my baking hands and brain was set on “I’ll take two of everything” mode.

After all that, I was thankful to sustain only one burn on my finger, albeit it is the size of Florida from the spun sugar portion.

If you are wondering will I be making this again anytime soon-uh, probably not.

A few notes:

  • When making your cream keep an extra sauce pot on hand to transfer the hot mixture into a cold sauce pot. This was key for me the third time around to prevent the egg from cooking.
  • If you decide to use a cupcake as your base, fill your liners up just below the halfway point. This will give you the extra liner to help support the croquembouche portion.
  • I used tip number 5 to make the pint size puff pastry.
  • Use a star tip to carve out the hole of your pastry and to fill it.
  • Do not make the spun sugar on a humid day, as it will just evaporate.
  • The recipe is from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan. I followed the recipe as written, but changed the pate choux methodology. Instead of mixing it by hand, I finished my pate choux in a food processor.

Croquembouche Cupcakes

Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcake
(Minimally adapted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacities) muffin tins with cupcake papers.

Ingredients:

Cupcake:

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups Cake flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Crème Patisserie:
1 cup of whole milk
2 tablespoon cornstarch
6 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pate Choux:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
¾ cup water
6 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs

Spun Sugar:
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cupcake:

1. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
2. Cream the butter until smooth on medium speed.
3. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.
6. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
7. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them just under half way full.
8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Vanilla Crème Patisserie:

1. Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk.
2. Combine the remaining milk with sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat and transfer mixture to a new sauce pot. The new unheated sauce pot will help control the heat.
3. Beat whole egg and yolks into corn mixture.
4. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into egg mixture, making sure to whisk constantly so the eggs do not curdle. (See #1)
5. Return remaining milk to boil. Pour hot egg mixture in a stream and continue whisking.
6. Whisk mixture until the cream thickens and comes to a boil.
7. Remove from heat and beat in butter and vanilla.
8. Refrigerate the cream overnight or for at least six hours.

Pate Choux:

1. Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally.
3. Once boiled, remove from heat and add the flour, stirring to combine completely. (See # 2)
4. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and pulls away from the sides of the pan. (See # 3)
5. Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 minute to cool slightly.
6. Transfer mixture to a food processor. (See #4)
7. Leaving the feed tube open add one egg at a time and pulse until incorporated with each addition.
8. Transfer completed pate choux to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip.
9. Pipe small dots the size of  ½ an inch wide and tall onto parchment paper.
10. Dip your finger in water and smooth any tips that have formed. (See #5)
11. Brush each top with some lightly beaten egg whites.
12. Bake for 13 minutes.
13. Cool completely before filling with cream.

Spun Sugar:

1. Combine sugar and lemon juice in a saucepot until mixture resembles wet sand.
2. Place saucepot over medium heat.
3. Heat without stirring until sugar starts to melt around the sides of the pans and the center begins to smoke. Begin to stir sugar.
4. Continue heating and stirring until mixture resembles a clear amber color.
5. Remove from heat immediately and place bottom in a pan of ice water to stop the heat.

Assembly:
1. Carve a hole with your tip in the puff pastry and then fill with cream. (See # 7, 8, 9)
2. To assemble the mount, carefully dip puff pastry in caramel and stack one on top of another. The caramel will work as the glue to hold the structure.
3. To create the spun sugar use a whisk with cut ends or a handful of wooden skewers fanned out. Dip the end of your chosen tool in the caramel and allow excess to drip down into the pot.  Gently let end of dripping caramel touch the structure. This will anchor the caramel as you move it in the direction you want the spun sugar to be formed.

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21 Responses to “Croquembouche Cupcakes”

  1. #
    1
    Michelle — May 27, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

    I think you did a great job. They look great in mini form. That was a very creative take on your challenge.
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Lavender ricotta ice cream =-.

    Reply

  2. #
    2
    Emily — May 27, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

    These are fabulous, Naomi! My Grandmother used to make a Croquembouche every year for Christmas…just doesn’t seem the same without it! I used to love watching her do the spun sugar! For some reason, though, I’ve never attempted them on my own…perhaps I shall…especially in mini-form! Love it!
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..Graduation Cakes and Some Strays =-.

    Reply

  3. #
    3
    Happy Cook — May 27, 2010 @ 6:10 pm

    They look so so cute, i love the cupcake presentation. I didn’t fo the caramel because I was sure i would burn my finger.
    .-= Happy Cook´s last blog ..PIECE MONTÉE MAY 2010 – Daring Baker’s Challenge =-.

    Reply

  4. #
    4
    Shea M. — May 27, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

    The initial pictures don’t show off how incredibly adorable those teeny cream puffs are! I love the shot of the one being filled – so sweet (pun totally intended).

    In terms of a sugar burn (in case you ever decide to brave spun sugar again) David Lebowitz suggests keeping a bowl of ice water close by, so if you do get any hot sugar on you, it cools it incredibly fast, minimizing the burn.

    I’ll be featuring this post on my blog’s weekly links tomorrow! Just FYI. :)
    .-= Shea M.´s last blog ..Recipe: Chicken Paprikash (or Csirke Paprikás) =-.

    Reply

  5. #
    5
    anna — May 27, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

    LOVE IT!!! Soooo cute.

    Instead of removing hot caramel with a towel (can just make it worse), keep a bowl of ice water handy. Plunge any caramel-splattered body part in to immediately harden the caramel and stop the burning.

    Reply

  6. #
    6
    azelia kitchen — May 27, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

    I can see you love your baking as much as I do…they look good the choux balls look perfectly neat…and the spun sugar is a pain in backside isn’t it? I’ve tried more than once to make caramel cages and finally when succeeding I couldn’t remember why I tried so hard since I don’t like eating them anyway!

    you’ve got a lot of work there for a cupcake…good job..
    .-= azelia kitchen´s last blog ..Roasted Rack of Pork with Fennel Seeds =-.

    Reply

  7. #
    7
    Cherine — May 28, 2010 @ 7:02 am

    You did a great job and you croquembouche cupcakes look perfect and lovely!!
    .-= Cherine´s last blog ..Coq au vin =-.

    Reply

  8. #
    8
    Memoria — May 29, 2010 @ 1:55 am

    Your cupcakes are too cute for words!!! I wish I had thought about doing this. It would have been much more manageable and appetizing. I burned myself, too so you’re not alone. Great job on this challenge!

    Reply

  9. #
    9
    Kaitlin — May 29, 2010 @ 9:56 pm

    What a great idea! This is so cute!
    .-= Kaitlin´s last blog ..Left =-.

    Reply

  10. #
    10
    Joyce — June 11, 2010 @ 5:41 am

    The cupcake looks amazing!! Great job.
    .-= Joyce´s last blog ..Not the usual Betty Crocker =-.

    Reply

  11. #
    11
    sadaf — August 11, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    looks great and i like the idea to present as cup cake . it was also my first challenge as being a part of daring bakers

    Reply

  12. #
    12
    pizza recipes — September 28, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

    LOVE IT!!! Soooo cute.

    Instead of removing hot caramel with a towel (can just make it worse), keep a bowl of ice water handy. Plunge any caramel-splattered body part in to immediately harden the caramel and stop the burning.

    Reply

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    13
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    Lisa — August 1, 2014 @ 7:55 pm

    Lovely idea and you did an amazing job describing the process! Thanks a lot!

    Reply

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