So, a little while ago I spotted this post at Book View Cafe, about how to make a croquembouche the easy way.
Now, a croquembouche is this thing you make by piling up miniature cream puffs into a pyramid, and obviously when you are going to cheat, you start by buying a lot of little frozen cream puffs, which by the way are very good and you may become addicted to them if you try them.
In the BVC post, Brenda Clough suggested making your own caramel, and I want you to know that I totally would have done that IF MY STOVE TOP WERE FIXED, which it still is not, after many weeks (ten or eleven weeks so far) and three visits from Sears technicians, and the whole thing is too complicated to go into but yes I am completely disgusted.
ANYWAY. I was determined to make a croquembouche and I did, by double cheating. Here’s how to make the very easiest croquembouche in the world, without using your oven at all:
A bunch of little miniature cream puffs. They come about 36 to a box and I used all of one box and half a dozen or so cream puffs from another.
About 30 caramels, peeled, in a deeeep microwavable bowl.
Peel all the caramels. I timed it and this took me about 10 minutes, which was tedious, but the caramels were particularly annoying to peel, it seemed to me. Anyway, heat them in the microwave until they are melted, a minute or so. If the caramel starts boiling, it may zoom up the sides of the bowl, which is why you use a deep bowl.
Dip each (frozen) cream puff in the caramel and arrange about nine or so in a circle on a plate. Then arrange a row of seven or eight on top of the original circle, then just keep going until you have a Christmas-tree type of shape on your platter, all the cream puffs glued together with caramel. Reheat the caramel for a few seconds if it starts to harden too much.
Optional: melt about three ounces of chocolate and pipe up and down the sides of the croquembouche. The easiest casual way to pipe chocolate is to double over a sheet of plastic wrap, poke a hole in the plastic, spoon the melted chocolate over the hole, gather up the plastic, and squeeze gently.
Keep in fridge until serving.
Anyway, my croquembouche turned out pretty well for a first try:
And it was a hit at the Cavalier party at my house yesterday: