Looking for the ultimate showstopper this festive season? Look no further! This croquembouche recipe is a festive take on the French patisserie classic with its mincemeat filling. Shared with us by Roux Head Chef Steve Groves, his incredible festive croquembouche is PERFECT for the upcoming party season!
Steve says: "This is a challenging recipe and it does take a considerable amount of time and effort and patience. However, the results are spectacular and your guests will be incredibly impressed! Nothing this good comes easy!"
Serves 10-12, Preparation time Approximately 2-2 1/4 hours, plus chilling and cooling
For the choux buns
• 250ml/9fl oz water
• 250ml/9fl oz whole milk
• 225g/8oz butter
• 1 ½ tsp salt
• 1 ½ tsp caster sugar
• 275g/10oz bread flour
• 475g eggs
For the mincemeat filling
• 800ml/28fl oz milk
• 240g/8 1/2oz egg yolks
• 240g/8 1/2oz caster sugar
• 100g/4oz plain flour
• 250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
• 1 x 312g jar Mincemeat
For the caramel
• 300g/11oz caster sugar
• 100ml/4fl oz water
Start by making the choux buns. Tip: As you are going to need to ‘shoot’ the flour in quickly, fold a sheet of greaseproof paper to make a crease, then open it up again. Sift the flour straight onto the square of greaseproof ready to use.
Place the water, milk, butter, salt and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil. Pull away from the heat and ‘shoot’ in the flour, then return to a medium to high heat and cook, stirring constantly and vigorously, until it starts to leave a film on the bottom of the saucepan. Transfer to a bowl of a stand mixer, leave to cool slightly and then beat in the eggs gradually until fully incorporated – you should have a dropping consistency. Take a spoonful and tip the mix off – it should slowly drop from the spoon, not pour or stay on the spoon.
Transfer the mixture to a container and chill for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 190°C, 375°F, Gas 5.
Transfer the chilled mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and pipe into 2.5cm/1in rounds on silicone paper or mats (if using paper use a little of the mixture to stick it to a baking tray), leaving at least 2.5cm/1in between each round. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until well puffed then reduce the oven temperature to 160°C, 300°F, Gas 2 and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes until well dried. Leave to cool.
While the choux buns are cooling, make the mincemeat filling. Gently bring the milk to the boil. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks, caster sugar and flour. Pour the milk onto the egg yolks and mix well. Return to the saucepan and bring back to the boil, whisking constantly, reduce the heat and cook gently for 3 minutes, continuing to whisk. Transfer to a container, press clingfilm onto the top to cover and chill.
Blend the chilled custard with the butter and mincemeat, transfer to a piping bag and chill.
Make a small hole in the bottom of each choux bun and fill each one with the mincemeat cream.
Prepare a bowl of iced water large enough to enable you to plunge the base of your saucepan in.
Place the caster sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring to the boil and then cook without stirring until you have a light caramel. Plunge the base of the saucepan into the ice water to halt the cooking – the caramel will continue to colour for a little while. Once the colouration has stopped but the caramel is still liquid, remove the saucepan from the ice water and start dipping your choux buns into the caramel to coat the top. Lay them, caramel down, on a lightly greased sheet of silicone paper to set. Once all the buns are dipped and set you are ready to construct. You will need some caramel to build your tower.
To construct your croquembouche, you can use a purpose made mould, a homemade mould using acetate or freestyle it! Use the caramel – it needs to be in a liquid state so it sets just warm it gently to melt – to stick the buns together and build up in a cone shape.
Once the tower is built, you can decorate with whatever you like. I used some chocolate stars and some of the caramel spun from 2 forks over the handle of a wooden spoon. You could use sugared nuts, crystalised fruits or flowers – you could even stick an angel on the top!
This recipe by Head Chef Steve Groves was prepared last Christmas by him and his team at Roux at Parliament Square. For more information, or to book, visit rouxatparliamentsquare.co.uk or call 020 7334 3737