1 x Basic Choux Pastry (make ahead, see BASIC CHOUX PASTRY RECIPE)
SALTED CARAMEL PASTRY CREAM:
¾ cup (175 ml) granulated sugar, divided
¼ cup (60 ml) water
2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml) cornstarch
6 large egg yolks
2 tbsp (30 ml) butter
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
¼ tsp (1 ml) fleur de sel or sea salt
CARAMEL SAUCE/ SPUN SUGAR GARNISH:
⅔ cup (150 ml) water
2 cups (500 ml) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (30 ml) corn syrup
one 4 x 8-in (10 x 20 cm) Styrofoam cone
- Prepare BASIC CHOUX PASTRY as per Master Recipe. Once puffs have cooled, make a small incision in bottom of each.
- Prepare the SALTED CARAMEL PASTRY CREAM: In a medium-sized, heavybottomed saucepan, combine ½ cup (125 ml) sugar and the water. Over mediumlow heat, cook until caramelized and deep amber in colour, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat milk in separate saucepan or in microwave until hot, but not boiling.
- Remove saucepan with sugar syrup from heat and whisk in milk in a slow, steady stream. Return saucepan to low heat and stir until smooth. Remove and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together cornstarch and ¼ cup (60 ml) sugar. Whisk in egg yolks. Continue whisking while adding prepared hot caramel mixture in a thin, steady stream.
- Transfer mixture back to saucepan and heat, whisking constantly, over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it thickens and just comes to a boil. Immediately strain through a fine meshed sieve into a clean bowl and stir in butter, vanilla and salt. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface, and refrigerate until needed.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip (Wilton 71) with Salted Caramel Pastry Cream. Insert tip into each puff and fill with cream. Set puff aside on a large cookie sheet as they are filled.
- Wrap Styrofoam cone with parchment paper and place pointedside up on sheet of parchment paper.
- To make a CARAMEL SAUCE: Combine ⅔ cup (150 ml) water, sugar and corn syrup in a heavy-bottomed medium-sized saucepan and boil over medium-high heat until amber in colour. Do not mix. Remove from heat and place saucepan in larger bowl of hot water to keep from hardening too fast. Dip side of each puff into caramel and stick puffs together in a pyramid around prepared cone.
- To make SPUN SUGAR GARNISH: Cut looped ends of a wire whisk with a wire cutter or use 2 forks held facing each other and dip ends into caramel sauce. Wave caramel back and forth over a parchment-lined box, allowing strands to fall in long, thin threads over sides. Take strands and wrap over Croquembouche.