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Nov 16, 2010 06:04 PM

Cream puffs

I found a recipe for cream puffs and wondering if I can just halve all the ingredients to make half the number of cream puffs.

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    1. They freeze well unbaked. You could make the full recipe, pipe out the dough immediately, and freeze until firm. Then put them in a ziploc bag to bake off later.

      I think they also freeze well after baking.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Becca Porter

        Yes, they do, but I've never had any left over (at home) to freeze.

      2. Thanks everyone..i just wanted to try this out before committing myself to making a huge croque en bouche. If you have any good croque en bouche recipes please let me know!

        31 Replies
        1. re: vivers

          My recipe? Many very small cream puffs, a nice vanilla and orange flavored cream patisserie for filling, caramel for sticking them together and tons of patience with fingers crossed that they stay stuck. Good luck Not my pic, btw.

            1. re: chowser

              No, not my pic, that's to scare the OP off making croque en bouche, but I did a similar height for a Christmas party years ago!! It was frustrating getting them to stick, perhaps my caramel was too loose/soft. I finally got it to stick though and all ended well. A croque is not that difficult, just time consuming and nerve-racking.

              Toothpicks came in handy for a few of the upper layers, until the caramel hardened.

              I edited my post in all fairness to the chef of that croque, who is unknown.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                I have been known to cheat a bit by rolling a tall heavy duty aluminum foil cone and building on it. Hey, it adds a bit of silver sparkle in the gaps! '-)

                1. re: Caroline1

                  So you go the cream puffs to stick to the foil, or just rest on the cone as a support, and held together by the caramel? The silver sparkle thing is nice.

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    After I build the foil cone I smear it with clarified butter or peanut oil (in today's world I would probably use Pam), then just let the profiteroles lean against it as I build upward. You can go pretty tall with this method. I don't know if they are still available, but there was a time when the cones were available commercially for building really tall croquemouches. But I haven't seen one in years! But I haven't looked either.

                    When it was all built, I would stand on my kitchen ladder and spin all the caramel that is left into threads, first covering the floor with newspaper, then with wax paper or parchment, then wrap the loooooong threads around the croque. One Christmas I even tucked in some snowflakes I made ahead with royal icing and let dry and stuck them around the croque along with a few silver dragees, then wrapped it all in a cloud of the sugar threads. It sort of looks like the old fashioned "angel hair" Christmas decoration of years past. Anyone remember the spun glass you had to apply while wearing gloves? But the spun sugar won't cut you the way real angel hair spun glass will.

                    I can't really call the "glue" I used to stack the profiteroles "caramel." It was hard crack sugar, I tried to keep it clear and not let it color. But it did have to be brittle when cold. And go light when using it to stick together the profiteroles 'cause a big chunk can suck your fillings out! '-)

                    If anyone is interested in making the spun sugar threads, the easiest way to do it is to take a piece of 1"X2" wood about a foot long (untreated preferably, but it won't touch the candy if you do it right) and drive a whole bunch of long nails all the way through it at one end leaving the other end to serve as a handle. It should look like some sort of torturer's hair brush if you do it right. The nails should be close enough together to get a lot of them in, but far enough apart so the sugar will fall from them individually and not collectively. Then just dip them about half way into the hot sugar mixture and wave in the air at least five or six feet above the newspapers and parchment/waxed paper. Move slowly from side to side. I aimed for at least a 3 feet wide sugar "cloud" on the floor by the time I finished, and about the height of the croquembouche. But these threads can be used for other things too. They just don't store well. And it's basically a coarser and more crystal form of cotton candy. Sort of. Same principle.

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      I appreciate your post but now you've probably scared off the OP completely.;-))
                      Or maybe he/she will rise to the occasion.

                      I haven't seen those cones either.

                      I've made those caramel thread bowls that were popular back inthe 80's, perhaps you remember, and the spun sugar threads, two opposing dowels, run the caramelized sugar back and forth between the two, allowing it to form threads down the sides. Fun.

                      I always wanted a cotton candy machine, not necessarily to make it for eating, but just to play with. The aroma is intoxicating.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl


                        We go thru this life once, buy one! This particular model does a fab job! We often use cotton candy for our birthday breakfast trays and it's a huge surprise with the clients.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          The price is certainly right. I could make some of my neighbor's kids very happy. Thanks for pointing the way.

                          Mrbushy tells me that when going to Coney Island in the summer, when he was a kid, many years before the subway station was rebuilt, you could smell cotton candy as soon as you got off the train. Now it's all bagged ahead of time, same at the ballparks.

                        2. re: bushwickgirl

                          I appreciate your post but now you've probably scared off the OP completely.;-)) ................................................................bushwickgirl

                          Well, to regain courage all anyone has to do is watch the Top Chef, Just Desserts episode where they made the wimpiest little croquembouches I've ever seen in my life! It was embarassing...

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            I saw that, I can only think they were pressed for time.

                        3. re: Caroline1

                          Good God! That's the most impressive thing I've ever read about!

                          I agree with HillJ - buy one! Of course, than you don't have braggin' rights to making one, like Ms. Caroline1. Bravo, madam!

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            My hats off to C1 as well. I'd pay to see a video of C1 going at it!

                            The home model is a hoot and a half and everyone "fights" over who gets to spin it but that's half the fun.

                          2. re: Caroline1

                            Far too impressive--too bad you don't have pictures.

                            I've wondered if those foam cones would work to fake a croque-em-bouche. Just skewer toothpicks into the cream puffs and attach.

                            1. re: chowser

                              They would absolutely work, but cover it in aluminum foil first so the styrofoam doesn't come in contact with food. They're kind of laden with styrofoam dust. And you wouldn't have to make the caramel or hard crack candy and risk burning yourself. NOTHING hurts as much or burns as deep as a hot sugar burn.

                              For the rest of you and your "awe" at my efforts, it was more difficult to write about than do. It just sounds complicated. Time consuming? Yeah, I'll give it that. But complicated? Not even! But thank you all. I'm flattered!

                              1. re: chowser

                                The toothpicks are a bit difficult to hid, and you run the risk of having a guest bite down on one. The true fun is attaching the puffs with the caramel and getting them to stay in place.

                                I concur wiht C1, not complicated but time consuming, and a bit frustrating.

                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                  What do you call t hose Scandinavian Christmas cookie trees where you layer ever smaller cookies with a hole in the center on a peg until it's a couple of feet tall? I completely forget the name. Anyway, you could build a croquembouche by assembling each later separately, letting the sticky stick firmly,, then gluing/stacking them that way. It gives you the freedom of moving the next assembled layer around until it fits just right, then "gluing" it. Seems to me... Logical but I haven't done it.

                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    Yup, that's what I do, each circular layer, then the next. I haven't made each layer in advance, I believe that's what you're saying? But it makes sense, as long as you eye ball each circle's measuments.

                                    I can't remember the name of that cookie tree either, and my Scandinavian book is behind a bunch of other books right now. I googled to no avail. Someone will know.

                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                      Yes, that's what I meant... Building a ring of cream puffs, then mounting the ring on one already built, then building a ring a bit smaller, then mounting it. For some reason I've always built a croquembouche the way everyone assumes the pyramids were built; one puff at a time then the next layer up until you get to the top. This morning it occurred to me it might be easier -- since cream puffs don't weigh nearly as much as huge blocks of rock, to build the whole entire layer on a flat surface, then put it on top. If the layer is all glued together and level and stable, as long as there are at least three contact points with the layer below, it will be stable... YEAH! THAT'S the ticket! :-)

                                      God, I really hope vivers isn't intimidated by all this wild talk! You can do it, vivers. You CAN do it! I promise!

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        Yes, the OP can, and I wish he/she would get back to us about all of this.

                                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                                          I was thinking the same thing so I went to his/her posts on his//her profile page and looked them over. I doubt we'll be hearing from him/her very soon. Lives in Vancouver but travels a great deal and doesn't post all that often. Not chatty, but not rude either. I suspect we have a power career person who travels a lot and was out of here as soon as there was a yes to whether he/she can cut a pate a choux recipe in half. I suspect!

                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            Yes, that was my assessment as well, I checked the profile also.

                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                              Of course, our eager and generous replies and suggestions, sidebars and personal experience may have been way more than the OP was expecting or looking for (insert big smile)...but we all benefit from the thanks CH's!

                                    2. re: Caroline1

                                      Caroline, the Scandinavian Christmas pastry trees are Norwegian, called Kransekake, yeasted sweet dough with almond paste filling, formed into graduated rings and piled up on a dowel or support of some sort, is this what you had in mind? Easier to make than Croque:

                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                        That's it! Doesn't it sound delicious? All yeasty and good. It seems to me that if the layers of a croquembouche were made individually in ever shrinking diameter layers, you could use the same technique without the dowel. But I don't think it would work with true caramel, no matter how thick, because it would eventually succumb to gravity. That, plus caramel has enough moisture in it it would make the profiteroles soggy. Which is why I use hard crack clear "candy." God, I think my word recall has evaporated. WHAT do you call sugar and water when you cook it to the hard crack stage? It's what I do if I want to make lollipops. Oh, well. Yes, that's the cake I was thinking of. And now I want a bite!

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          the inside of a croquembouche is hollow -- and French chefs build them to dizzying heights held together only with caramel without anything getting soggy.

                                          They're made as wedding cakes in France, and are insanely popular -- they're referred to frequently as a pièce montée (pieces put together).

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            Yup. That's all true. Can't count the number of croquembouches I've made in my time. The discussion was aimed at helping a first timer. And no. True "caramel" is not what I've ever seen used if the pastry cook is going for height. And when I say caramel, I mean the method in which you bring boiled sugar (the water has evaporated by the time the sugar begins to take on a "caramel" color) and then cream is poured in. I've never used that kind of caramel in my croques.

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              no, no -- in France, I've found I have to read the recipe carefully, as caramel can sometimes mean just caramelized sugar OR caramel with milk.

                                              A Croque would only ever be made here with caramelized sugar...milk caramel WOULD mean the individual puffs would slide all over each other.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                "caramelized sugar" what I always used.

                                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                  Whew.... That's a relief! '-)

                                                  This whole thread has me thinking about doing a croque for Christmas. I need that like a hole in the head. This year is going to be just me, and knowing me, I would make a 6 feet tall croque and eat the whole damned thing! I think I have some plumb pudding from last year hermetically sealed and stored in the freezer. I'll bathe it in Courvoissier and have a flaming good time!

                                                2. re: sunshine842

                                                  LOL! OBVIOUSLY it gets confusing in English too...!