What is Croquembouche?

Think the Cronut is a complex dessert? Think again! Thanks to a recent MasterChef episode where the contestants were challenged to make croquembouche, the French dessert is on everyone's minds. Since most people have never heard of a croquembouche, let alone baked one, the dessert has sparked some interest.

Croquembouche is a French dessert, which literally means "crunch in the mouth." The dessert is a tall, cone-shaped stack of puff pastry bites, held up by a little bit of caramel allowing the beauty of architecture to seamlessly mix with the sweetness of dessert. Each individual pastry is filled with cream and the dessert is topped with spun sugar around the finished pyramid. Croquembouche can also be topped with chocolate, sweetened nuts and more. The decadent treat has been enjoyed at French weddings and celebrations for hundreds of years. This sweet triumph is the work of the French chef Marie-Antoine Carême, who was known for creating stunning and edible centerpieces for European banquet tables during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Making croquembouche requires several steps, after all, you are making a dessert pyramid! To make the pastry puffs, you'll need butter, salt, sugar, flour and eggs. The pastry cream requires egg yolks, sugar, flour, milk, butter, chocolate and espresso powder. Sugar and corn syrup are all you need for the caramel. The dessert is held together with the help of the caramel.

Image Credit: Getty Images

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