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Croquembouche


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Ingredients            

For the Choux Pastry
  • 500ml water
  • 500ml milk
  • 10g sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 400g unsalted butter
  • 600g flour
  • 16 eggs
Pastry Cream
  • 1200ml milk
  • 10 eggs yolks
  • 250g sugar
  • 115g cornflour
  • 1 vanilla bean
          Caramel
  • 600g sugar
  • 240ml water
  • 180g glucose
  • 1 jar ready made fondant

Method
For the Pastry Cream
Place the milk & scraped vanilla bean in a saucepan. Heat gently until the milk comes to the boil. Whisk the yolks, sugar & cornflour in a bowl until thick & pale. Slowly whisk in the warm milk. Return the mix to the saucepan & stir over medium heat until the custard is thick & comes to the boil. Spread onto a tray to cool quickly. Cover the surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming, cool completely.

For the Choux Pastry
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line 4 baking trays with baking paper & set aside. Combine the butter, water, sugar, milk & salt in a saucepan & bring to the boil. Remove from the heat & stir in the flour. Return to the heat & continue stirring until the mixture comes together & leaves the side of the pan. Cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat & allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a KitchenAid bowl with the paddle attachment & gradually add the eggs one at a time. Beat for a few minutes until thick & glossy. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle about 1cm in diameter. Pipe 3cm rounds onto the prepared trays, or use a macaroon matt as a guide, allowing space for spreading. Bake for 20-30 minutes until firm & hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack. Put pastry cream into a piping bag with a small plain nozzle & pierce a small hole in the base of each puff & fill with custard.

For the Caramel
Combine water, sugar & glucose in a saucepan & whisk gently until dissolved then cook until caramel in colour. Remove from the heat & dip the base of the pan in a bowl of water to cool slightly. Dip half the puffs in enough toffee to coat the top & place onto lined baking trays. Coat half the puffs with fondant (you may need to heat slightly) & then dip into white & silver sprinkles.

To Assemble
Lightly grease the croquembouche cone. Dip the sides of the puffs in the toffee one at a time & place around the base of the cone. Alternating with fondant puffs. Continue adding puffs until the cone is covered. Gently ease the croquembouche & lift from the cone & place on a serving plate. Re-heat the remaining toffee then dip two forks back to back in it. Spin toffee around the Croquembouche if desired. Garnish with small bows & glace cherries.