French Croquembouche: Puff Pastry Tower
- 2 cups milk
- 1 vanilla bean (cut in half and scraped)
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- ¼ cup Bob's Red Mill Cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp. butter (or dairy-free butter)
Pâte à choux (puff pastry)
- 6 Tbsp. butter (or dairy-free butter)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour (or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. corn syrup
- 1 Tbsp. water
- In small saucepan over medium heat, bring milk and vanilla to boil. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Refrigerate until completely cold.
Pâte à choux
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- Remove from oven, poke hole in bottom of each pastry puff and allow to cool completely on wire rack.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once pyramid is complete, dip table fork in caramel and drizzle ribbons of caramel around tower. Serve immediately.