Croquembouche with Maple Cream
- Prepare Maple Cream Filling. Cover and chill until needed.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two extra-large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a large saucepan combine 1/2 cup water, milk, butter, and salt. Bring to boiling. Immediately add flour all at once; stir vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes. Add four of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip, pipe dough into forty-six 1 inch mounds onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between mounds. In a small bowl beat the remaining egg and 1 teaspoon water with a fork. Brush puffs with egg mixture. Bake, one sheet at a time, about 20 minutes or until puffs are golden and firm. Cool on baking sheet on a wire rack.
- Spoon filling into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip. Using a skewer or wooden dowel, gently poke a hole in the bottom of each puff. Insert pastry bag tip into hole and fill puffs with filling.
- For caramel, in a medium saucepan stir together sugar and 1/4 cup water (mixture will be grainy). Bring to boiling over medium heat (do not stir). Using a soft pastry brush dipped in water, brush down sides of pan to prevent any sugar crystals from forming.** Increase heat to high. Cook, without stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture turns an amber color; cool slightly.
- On each of two serving plates, arrange seven puffs in a circle and one puff in the center for the base. Drizzle with caramel. Continue adding layers of puffs to make a cone shape, drizzling each layer with caramel. If caramel becomes too thick, transfer to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 10 to 15 seconds to reach drizzling consistency. If desired, sprinkle layers with sea salt flakes and garnish with caramel stars. Serve immediately or chill for up to 4 hours.
From the Test Kitchen
*Test Kitchen Tip:
To make caramel stars, line a baking sheet with foil. Drizzle some of the caramel in free-form star shapes onto the prepared baking sheet. Let stand until set. Peel stars off foil.
**Test Kitchen Tip:
The chemistry behind caramelizing sugar is complicated. If some of the sugar mixture is stirred up onto the sides of the pan, the water will evaporate and cause the sugar particles to crystallize. This sets off a chain reaction in the caramel that can leave you with a grainy mess. To prevent this, after stirring together the sugar and water, brush the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in clean water, allowing the water to drip down the sides of the pan. This will wash any sugar crystals off the sides of the pan before you begin. Do not allow the pastry brush to touch the sugar mixture, as this could pull the sugar up onto the sides and defeat your efforts.
Maple Cream Filling
- In a medium saucepan whisk together whipping cream, maple syrup, and cornstarch. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly (if necessary, use whisk to make smooth). Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Gradually stir about half of the hot mixture into egg yolks. Return egg yolk mixture to saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into a medium bowl; cover surface with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 to 2 hours.
- In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add cream mixture, beating until smooth.
Nutrition Facts (Croquembouche with Maple Cream)
- Per serving:
- 346 kcal cal.,
- 23 g fat
- (14 g sat. fat,
- 1 g polyunsaturated fat,
- 5 g monounsatured fat),
- 155 mg chol.,
- 91 mg sodium,
- 32 g carb.,
- 21 g sugar,
- 4 g pro.
- Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet