History Croquembouche

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Anna Elizabeth Henry

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This past Sunday while watching Victoria on PBS I discovered this towering dessert called croquembouche.

Popular in France for weddings and other festive occasions, a croquembouche is a dramatic tower of cream puffs which are stuffed with pastry cream and then held together with caramel and wrapped in spun sugar and shaped like a cone.

The invention of the croquembouche is often attributed to Antonin Carême, who includes it in his 1815 cookbook Le Pâtissier royal parisien, but it is mentioned as early as 1806, in Alexandre Viard's culinary encyclopedia Le Cuisinier Impérial, and in Antoine Beauvilliers' 1815 L'Art du Cuisinier. In Viard's encyclopedia and other early texts, it is included in lists of entremets - elaborate dishes, both savory and sweet, that were served between courses during large banquets.

Here's a modern version of the recipe from Martha Stewart as the original French recipes I found were not in English! It's quite involved and should you be brave enough to give it a try, you must assemble the dessert no more than two hours before serving or else the cream will make the puffs soggy!

Ingredients -

FOR PASTRY PUFFS
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 7 large eggs
FOR PASTRY CREAM
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, mixed with 2 teaspoons hot water

FOR CARAMEL
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup

Directions - https://www.marthastewart.com/339829/croquembouche
 
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Waterloo50

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I am watching that series too. I saw that dessert. Thanks for posting on it.

I just love this series.
It is a great series, the last one that we watched was the Christmas special, there's plenty of incredible Victorian food to be seen in the special. I don't know where you are up to in the series but keep an eye on the future of Ms Skerrett and Francatelli’s romance, also Ms Skerrett becomes the owner of a plantation and slaves. No more spoilers from me though.
 

Anna Elizabeth Henry

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I am watching that series too. I saw that dessert. Thanks for posting on it.

I just love this series.
It's an excellent and well done series for sure! I've been reading Victoria - the Queen by Julia Baird and much of what happens on the show is very similar to what happened in real life, especially the major events. It's impressive how well researched it is. Donna I'm sure you saw the interesting dish called ortolans in that episode. I'm probably going to post about that later today or tomorrow. Researching about the French delicacy (which I believe is currently illegal) reminds me of a Bizarre Foods episode :eek:

It is a great series, the last one that we watched was the Christmas special, there's plenty of incredible Victorian food to be seen in the special. I don't know where you are up to in the series but keep an eye on the future of Ms Skerrett and Francatelli’s romance, also Ms Skerrett becomes the owner of a plantation and slaves. No more spoilers from me though.
I preordered the show on iTunes, so I ended up with all the episodes this past weekend ahead of the airing. I saw the episode with the Christmas theme. Lovely to see the birth of so many of holiday traditions during this period and thanks to Prince Albert. Not to be a spoiler for those who haven't seen, but @Waterloo50 the ice skating incident with Albert was actually true! I listened to a podcast with the show's writer and she said she found it buried in a newspaper.
 
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Anna Elizabeth Henry

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Anna Elizabeth. Thanks for posting this towering and wonderful looking dessert recipe. I never saw or tasted this type of dessert but it looks rather delicious. David.
You're more than welcome! I was impressed when I saw it on the show and luckily on the PBS website they discussed the food used in the episode and was able to figure out what it was exactly. I think judging from the sound of it, it's similar to cream puffs glazed with caramel to hold it together and wrapped in fancy spun sugar. It must be incredibly sweet.

You haven't seen anything to my ortolan post which is forthcoming!
 

mofederal

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It is an impressive dessert, but the sugar content would have been high. A lot of them developed diabetes, that is of little surprise, given the diet of the times. I am sure the dessert might have been good, but not something I would eat myself diabetic or not. I know many would enjoy eating it. Thanks for posting this Anna.
 
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Deleted User CS

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You're more than welcome! I was impressed when I saw it on the show and luckily on the PBS website they discussed the food used in the episode and was able to figure out what it was exactly. I think judging from the sound of it, it's similar to cream puffs glazed with caramel to hold it together and wrapped in fancy spun sugar. It must be incredibly sweet.

You haven't seen anything to my ortolan post which is forthcoming!
Anna Elizabeth. I am waiting with great anticipation. David.
 

nitrofd

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I have made a couple of these with my wife at her father's bakery.they are a sticky mess and they are not worth the expense to the poor soul that orders one because you are going to pay alot for the labor,I mean alot.
 
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Anna Elizabeth Henry

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I have made a couple of these with my wife at her father's bakery.they are a sticky mess and they are not worth the expense to the poor soul that orders one because you are going to pay alot for the labor,I mean alot.
I can completely believe that given you have to make choux pastry, cream and the caramel and the spun sugar. Then you have to amass the creation into a cone that stands on its own. Much take hours and hours!
 
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