Quince and Prickly Pear Croquembouche

  • Yield : 10 to 12 servings
  • Cook Time : 50m
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  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) salted butter (can also use unsalted butter)
  • 3 cups bread flour (high-gluten flour)
  • 16 large eggs
  • 2 cups quince paste
  • 1/2 cup prickly pear juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons black treacle syrup
  • 2 cups maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


Step 1

For the pate a choux: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment.

Step 2

Bring the milk and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until a carpet, or thick film, forms on the bottom of the pan. Add the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment while still hot. Turn to medium speed and beat, adding one egg at a time, until fully combined and glossy.

Step 3

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe 2-inch balls spaced about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets (you should have about 55 balls). Bake until golden brown, about 22 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake another 15 minutes to dry them out.

Step 4

Let the puffs cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to racks and let cool completely before filling, preferably overnight. Puncture small holes in the base of each puff and set aside to fill.

Step 5

For the quince and prickly pear jam: Heat the quince paste, prickly pear juice and vanilla extract in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until fully combined. Let cool completely. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip. Pipe the jam into the pate a choux puffs through the holes in the bottoms, filling the puffs halfway.

Step 6

For the vanilla bean whipped cream: Beat the cream and vanilla paste together in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until beginning to thicken. Slowly add the sugar and beat just until stiff. Then stop!

Step 7

Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a medium tip. Pipe the cream into the pate a choux puffs.

Step 8

For the treacle maple syrup: Combine the treacle, maple syrup and vanilla bean paste in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let cool halfway so it is still liquid.

Step 9

To assemble the croquembouche: Dip each filled pate a choux puff into the treacle syrup and stack on a serving tray to build a tower. Let set, 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 10

For the crisp caramel sugar: Heat the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, making sure not to stir. Cook until melted and golden brown. Allow to cool halfway.

Step 11

Dip a sugar wand or whisk into the caramel and quickly wave it in circles around the tower to create caramel strands. Repeat to create a wispy caramel cage. Serve immediately.

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