Yes! I have finally done this. Croquembouche de noel. I have always been fascinated with this profiterole cone ever since I saw it on Kim Sam Soon (Korean drama). Traditionally, this is a French wedding cake but the shape of the cone makes it perfect for a Christmas tree, hence, Croquembouche de Noel. Nowadays, with my on-going home business, I hardly have time to update this blog. Today is different. It is Christmas and I am dying to do something different. With whatever free time that I had, I summoned my courage to try out this intriguing dessert.
Christmas Tree Croquembouche/ Croquembouche de Noel 圣诞泡芙塔
Making a croquembouche can be divided into three major parts:
1. Making the profiteroles (click here)
2. Making the pastry cream (click here)
3. Assembling and decorating the cone.
Today, I am going to only concentrate on number 3 as I have somehow covered points 1 and 2 here. To assemble the croquembouche, we will need a cone. I made my own using manila cardboard as I have no idea where to get a styrofoam cone.
To make the cone, just fold the cardboard into half so that you get two layers. From the folded cardboard, cut into equal half. You can make two cones out of one manila cardboard. Take one half of the cardboard and start folding into a cone. Use a cellophane tape to stick the cone together and then cut the bottom until the cone is level and symmetrical. Then use a large baking paper and wrap around the cone. Fold the paper towards the end and stapler it together.
Making the croquembouche
2 parts of the cream puff recipe (makes approx. 82 small profiteroles)
Keep the profiteroles small as it ill expand later (see pix). You will probably have extra. If you would really like to avoid waste, you can make 1.5 part)
2 parts pastry cream recipe
When the profiteroles are ready, pipe the cream into the profiteroles.
Put about 200 g sugar on a pan, some water and cook until the sugar starts to caramelise. The sugar is ready when it turns amber. Be careful not to overcook the sugar or it will taste bitter.
Dip the bottom of the piped profiteroles into the caramelised sugar and start arranging onto the cone. Arrange snugly to avoid unsightly holes.
Once all the cone is covered. Use the cooled sugar to make spun sugar to decorate around the croquembouche. I admit I am not very good at this. The sugar turned out not prominent and I made a mess in my kitchen. I would vouch for something easier like chocolate instead. It saves a lot of time too. As I was running out of time, I just use some coconut flakes and coloured sugar to sprinkle around the tree. I then draped a ribbon around the cone. If you would, you could also dip the profiteroles in some melted chocolates (white or black) and add some rainbow sprinkles for that Christmas cheer. Use your imagination. The sky is the limit.
My Croquembouche de Noel without much fanfare. I actually liked it better this way.
I found the whole experience easier than I anticipated but it was also time-consuming. If you do not have that much time, you could do the parts separately and then assemble later. Having said that, do allocate at least 1/2 to 1 hour to assemble the whole cake. Have a Blessed Christmas!