Cream Puff Tree
Cream Puff Tree
Croquembouche is a traditional French dessert made of pâte à choux pastry balls stacked high and covered in spun sugar. Here in the South, we replace the spun sugar with powdered sugar and simply call this delicacy a Cream Puff Tree. A Cream Puff Tree is as tasty as it is pretty, but don’t let the complicated look deceive you. Instead, let Loveless Event Catering Chef Scott Peck demystify this delightful dessert with his easy-to-follow recipe!
Cream Puff Tree (also known as Croquembouche)
Yields 80- 90 Cream Puffs
Pastry Dough (Pâte à choux):
1½ cup water
9 tbs butter
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1½ cup ap flour
7 large eggs
Heat water, butter, salt and sugar in a small pot until boiling. Add in all the flour at once and mix until there are no lumps of raw flour left. Then add the dough to your mixer and work with a paddle for one minute or just until the steam has left the dough. Work in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Using a half-ounce scoop, scoop dough one inch apart on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for five to six minutes until brown all over. Remove the puffs from your oven and immediately turn oven down to 300 degrees. At this time poke a 1/4 inch hole in the bottom of each puff and put them back in the oven for five to eight minutes or until dry inside and out. Times are for convection oven. Add 3 minutes if using conventional oven.
Once your puffs have cooled you can use a bag with a small cut in the corner and pipe in your filling of choice. We use vanilla pudding.
Cream Puff Tree Construction
Attach a foam cone to a cardboard cake round with glue or tape and wrap the cone with plastic wrap so that the puffs will not touch the foam. Push a toothpick into the cone and into each puff to help hold it all together. We suggest using cream cheese frosting as glue between each puff and to fill in any holes in the structure.
Now for the fun part! You can decorate your Cream Puff Tree anyway you like! We mixed green food coloring into the cream cheese frosting to create leaves and red hard candy for the berries. For the base of the Cream Puff Tree, we used candied pecans but you can use anything from your leftover puffs to actual garland. Voila! Prepare to amaze the guests at your next party.