A classic french dessert, usually made of choux pastry puffs, filled with cream and piled into a cone, topped with caramel.
As a vegan you might ask: Cream? Caramel? Choux Pastry? Sounds difficult, especially the choux pastry. I ve tried many different vegan choux recipes and most failed or tasted just not right. I ve found two that do (kind of) work and one that actually tastes like choux, but it takes ages. So I was trying to think out of the box: how do we get the feel and taste in a simple way that is "Lockdown friendly"? So I thought about turning puff pastry sheets into little puff balls… with the right technique they do turn into little puffs that are fillable...yay! Thats why I am calling this treat a faux croquembouche as it is not really made with choux. But the effect is there, they totally do look like choux and the taste is great!
I ve paired them with a vegan white chocolate mousse filling and two sorts of caramel. Yum!
- 2 sheets of puff pastry ( for example jus roll)
- 200g white sugar
- baking parchment
- decoration like fruit, chcolate chips...
1.Open the puff pastry parcels and roll them out on a flat Surface.
2.Cut them into squares so that you get about 15 squares out of each sheet. Get rid of the dry ends.
3.Now the fold. Dont just roll them into a ball. I tried it and it doesnt work, they dont rise enough and you cant fill them later. Instead do this: Fold the edges carefully under and "tuck them in", so that you get a round little parcel with thicker edges( see pictures). They will rise beautifully that way.
4. Bake them on 220*Celsius for about 20 minutes or until golden.
5. Still warm, cut a hole into each puff ball, using a knife or another tool. I had a tool you usually use to get rid of stones in cherries.
6. Now its time to prepare the filling. You can use the recipe from our white chocolate easter mousse, thats exactly what I used - minus the decoration/carrots/oranges of course. When done fill it in a piping bag and let it chill in the fridge. (picture of the mousse in a jar just to show the texture).
7. Prepare the caramel filling (recipe here, our classic caramel spread), I used this caramel spread as the "glue" to stick the balls on top of each other. So you dont have to work extra fast like with just using the hot caramel drip, it is not as messy and it tastes better too. You can prepare it a day or a couple of days in advance if you like.
8. Let the puff balls cool completely before filling them. Best is to use a piping bag with a round tip or use a star tip and clean between each filling.
9. When all puff balls are filled with the mousse you can start piling them on top of each other, using the caramel spread as glue. Start with the round base and dont leave much space beween the balls. The classic croquembouche has a cone underneath and the choux balls are just fixed onto it. We do the much simpler version here. So just carry on sticking them on top of each other, piling them into a cone shape.
10. When you are happy with the shape it´s time for the caramel drip.
11. Using a non-sticky pan heat now the sugar on high heat until it is caramelizing. You can stir it, if lumps are forming carry on cooking it, they will melt again. Have your puff pastry tower and a spoon close.
12. Working quickly using a spoon pour the drip over your pastry cone, just let it run down on the sides and form a "drip".
13. If you like a caramel decoration on top just draw circles or lines with the still warm caramel on baking parchment. It will dry and harden quickly.
14. Using any leftover mousse filling pipe some of it in a decorative way in the gaps beween the pastry puffs. Decorate your cone with chcocolate chips, fresh fruit, icing sugar….
Tips: Dont store it in the fridge, otherwise the caramel "will melt" as it cant stand moisture.