French Croquembouche: Puff Pastry Tower

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This gorgeous classic French dessert makes a dramatic and unforgettable centerpiece for any special occasion, and is perfect for New Year’s Eve. Croquembouche, translating literally to “crunch in the mouth” in French, is a cone-shaped tower of cream puffs bound together by ribbons of caramel. Originally served only on the medieval tables of royalty and nobility, it’s now a traditional delight at noteworthy events in France. While the process to make this showstopper is lengthy, the individual steps are actually quite simple – and completely worth it.

French Croquembouche Puff Pastry Tower Drizzled in Caramel on Round Platter on Tablescape with Party Decorations and Glasses of Champagne

French Croquembouche Puff Pastry Tower Drizzled in Caramel on Round Platter on Tablescape with Party Decorations and Glasses of Champagne
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French Croquembouche: Puff Pastry Tower

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rest 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 7
Calories 481 kcal
Author Bob's Red Mill


Pastry cream

Pâte à choux (puff pastry)


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. corn syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. water


Pastry cream

  1. In small saucepan over medium heat, bring milk and vanilla to boil. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes.
  2. In mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Whisk in cornstarch until lump free. Whisk about ¼ cup milk mixture into egg mixture until fully combined. Repeat this step 4 times, then slowly whisk in remaining milk.
  3. Into saucepan over medium heat, pour mixture through fine mesh strainer, stirring constantly until just comes to boil and has thickened. Remove from heat, add butter and whisk until fully combined.
  4. Pour cream into heat-proof container and cover with plastic wrap so wrap directly rests on surface of cream. (Note: This keeps skin from forming.)
  5. Refrigerate until completely cold.

Pâte à choux

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In saucepan, bring to boil water, butter, sugar and salt, stirring to combine. When butter is dissolved, reduce heat to low, add flour and stir to bring together to form ball. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring vigorously until a film forms on bottom of pan. Turn off heat and allow dough to sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously until completely combined and dough becomes a paste-like mixture. (Note: Stir by hand, or transfer dough to stand mixer with paddle attachment.)
  4. Add pastry dough to piping bag fitted with ½-inch-wide plain tip. Onto prepared baking sheets, pipe mounds that are 1-inch high and ¾-inch in diameter, placing them about 1 inch apart. Using wet finger, tap down any points on pastry to make surface smooth.
  5. Place baking sheets in oven and immediately turn temperature up to 400 degrees F. Bake 15 minutes. Turn temperature down to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 10–15 minutes, or until pastry puffs are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Turn off oven and allow pastries to cool inside with door slightly open for 20 minutes. (Note: Slightly prop open door with handle of wooden spoon, if needed.)
  6. Remove from oven, poke hole in bottom of each pastry puff and allow to cool completely on wire rack.


  1. In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together sugar, corn syrup and water. Cover pan and bring to boil until steam dissolves sugar crystals without stirring. Uncover and boil 5 minutes, or until syrup is light amber in color. Watch closely. Remove from heat.


  1. To fill puffs, add pastry cream to piping bag fitted with Bismarck pastry tip or ¼-inch round tip. Holding puff in hand, insert tip into hole and gently squeeze bag to fill with pastry cream. Repeat until all puffs are filled.
  2. Set out serving platter in work area. Working quickly, dip bottom of each filled cream puff into caramel and arrange puffs in pyramid shape on platter.
  3. Once pyramid is complete, dip table fork in caramel and drizzle ribbons of caramel around tower. Serve immediately.

Note: This recipe makes one small croquembouche tower. To make the large one pictured, double the recipe.

Recipe Notes

Make this French delicacy in your own kitchen! Get the ingredients you’ll need.

Nutrition Facts
French Croquembouche: Puff Pastry Tower
Amount Per Serving
Calories 481 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 226mg75%
Sodium 171mg7%
Potassium 166mg5%
Carbohydrates 67g22%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 49g54%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 786IU16%
Calcium 118mg12%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.