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Catholic Recipe: Croquembouche

    INGREDIENTS

    Pastry Base:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk Choux Pastry:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 3-4 tbsp finely chopped almonds
  • 2-3 tbsp icing (or confectioners) sugar
  • egg wash - a little beaten egg in 2 tbsp milk Syrup:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp water
  • pinch of cream of tartar Decoration:
  • Halved glace cherries and pieces of angelica or hard-sugar cake decorations 
  • Details

  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: • • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: France

An Infant Baptism or Dedication service will usually be followed by a party for family and friends to rejoice together. In France sugared almonds are given to all the guests. It is a tradition in Britain that the top tier of a wedding cake is carefully kept for this occasion. The rich fruit cake matures with keeping, but the icing does not and so the cake does have to be re-iced. If you haven't got any left-over wedding cake how about trying this Croquembouche for an unusual center piece for your Christening buffet? This attractive tower of tiny choux buns comes from France and is a traditional center piece for a special party. This dessert can either be filled with or served with cream and fruit, or eaten as it is.

DIRECTIONS

METHOD: Pastry Base

1. Rub the butter into the flour and add the sugar.

2. Mix to a soft dough with the egg yolk and roll into a circle about 8 in./20 cm across.

3. Bake in oven 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Allow to cool.

METHOD: Choux Buns

1. Sift the flour on to a piece of paper.

2. Put water and butter into pan over heat, and bring slowly to the boil.

3. Take pan from heat and pour all the flour in once, stirring vigorously until the mixture is smooth.

4. Cool mixture for 5 minutes, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat mixture for about 3 minutes until it looks glossy.

5. Put mixture into a piping bag with a plain 1/2 in./1 1/2 cm nozzle.

6. Pipe small even-sized balls on to a damped baking tray. Brush lightly with egg - wash; sprinkle with chopped nuts and dust with icing sugar.

7. Bake in a hot oven 425 degrees for about 20 minutes until firm and crisp.

8. Remove and put on to a cooling tray.

FOR SYRUP, AND TO ASSEMBLE THE CROQUEMBOUCHE:

1. Dissolve half the sugar in half the water over a low heat.

2. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and boil rapidly until it is a golden color. Stop the boiling by placing the bottom of the pan in cold water.

3. Take a ball of choux and dip one side into the syrup and stick it onto the pastry base about 1/2 in./1 1/2 cm from the edge. Stick all the balls together in a circle. Then put another row of balls on top of the first row and so on. When the syrup is used up, make up the second batch with the remaining ingredients.

4. If you are filling the center of the tower with cream and fruit, remember to do this before the opening gets too narrow. Any left over syrup can be carefully dripped on to the finished tower.

5. Decorate with cherries and angelica. You can also pipe cream stars on to the croquembouoche.

Recipe Source: Feasting for Festivals by Jan Wilson, Lion Publishing Corporation, Batavia, Illinois, 1990
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