Makes 22
adjust servings:

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For the choux buns:

For the filling:

For the caramel:

To decorate:

  1. To make the choux pastry, add the sugar, butter and water to a large pan and heat very gently until the butter has melted. Increase the heat and bring the liquid to the boil.
  2. As soon as it’s bubbling, lower the heat, tip in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth dough that clumps together, leaving the rest of the pan clean. Carry on beating and cooking over a low heat for five minutes.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool for five minutes, then add in the egg a little at a time, beating in completely between each addition, until the dough is smooth but still thick. It should drop very reluctantly from the spoon in the shape of a ‘V’ when you bang it against the side of the pan.
  4. Heat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6 and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle, and pipe 30 walnut-sized balls, spaced an inch apart for rising. Dip your finger in a little water to smooth out any bumps or peaks in the dough, then bake for 30-35 minutes until the choux buns are puffed, golden and crisp. Turn off the oven and leave the profiteroles in for another 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. To make the filling, beat the cream and vanilla extract using a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks begin to form. Add in the icing sugar and beat again until just combined and smooth.
  6. Poke holes in the bottom of each bun using a small piping nozzle or knife. Fill a piping bag with the filling and it into the buns through the small hole. The bun is full once it feels heavy, and the cream wants to squirt back out.
  7. To make the caramel, heat granulated sugar in a heavy pot over a medium heat until it's completely melted and amber brown in colour.
  8. Slowly pour in the heavy cream, stirring constantly. The caramel should be runny but should coat the back of the spoon with a thin layer. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter, one cube at a time, until all melted and combined. Leave aside to cool.
  9. To assemble, take a large serving plate, dunk each choux bun in the caramel sauce covering the top, and stack the buns by creating a circle for the base and building upwards with a smaller circle each time creating a tower shape. Decorate the tower with mixed and a dusting of icing sugar.

Test kitchen tips

  • You can decorate your croquembouche tower with just about anything you like! Try chocolate treats, edible flowers, redcurrants or melted chocolate.
  • You can also switch up your choux bun filling. You could try a chocolate mousse, crème patisserie, or shop-bought Baileys cream.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving: 445 kcals, 33.2g fat (20.1g saturated), 33.3g carbs (20.8g sugars), 5.4g protein, 0.7g fibre, 0.149g sodium.