Croquembouche: the impressive French dessert recipe for making a cream puff tower

Total time: 80 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 15 people
By Cookist
for the pastry cream
Whole Milk
2 cups
1 tsp
2/3 cup
5 tbsp
Sea salt
1/4 tsp
Egg yolks
for the choux
Unsalted butter
100 g
2 tbsp
1/2 tsp
1 cup
All-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups
Large eggs
for the caramel
2 1/2 cups
Corn syrup
2 tbsp
1/2 cup

The Classic French croquembouche is just a fancy name for a cream puff tower. Yes, it’s as simple as that. A bunch of cream puffs filled with pastry cream and stuck together with caramel.

This super impressive dessert is actually very easy to make and assemble and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a dessert that makes an entrance like this one. It reminds one of a skyscraper with its cone-shaped tower.

The name croquembouche literally means “crunch in the mouth” and was originally served only on the medieval tables of French royalty and nobility. These days you can find it on a table at a New Years’ party, or even at weddings, baptisms, and christenings. The crunchy cream puffs, combined with the creamy pastry filling are a match made in dessert heaven. It’s easy to customize the recipe as you want, and once you see how easy it is, you’ll want to make it again and again!



If you’re looking for a shortcut, you can use store-bought frozen cream puffs. Allow to thaw and then follow the recipe as you would for homemade puffs.

Decorate the croquembouche with anything you like: sugar caramel threads, candied nuts, edible flowers, shimmer powder, sprinkles, and so much more!

Can You Make Croquembouche In Advance?

You can make the pastry cream filling ahead of time. Store it in the fridge (in an airtight container) for up to 3 days.

Freeze unfilled cream puffs for up to 3 months. Allow to defrost completely and reheat in the oven to crisp up.

How To Serve And Cut Croquembouche

To serve the croquembouche, push a knife into it to “break it open”. Leave a few salad tongs nearby, so guests can help themselves with cream puffs.

How To Store Croquembouche

The croquembouche is best enjoyed the day of assembly, as the cream puffs will become soggy and won’t retain their crunchiness.

How To Make Croquembouche 

For the pastry cream: In a saucepan, bring milk and vanilla bean to a boil, remove from heat. In a medium bowl, beat sugar, baking flour, and salt. Beat eggs and yolks.

Carefully add milk mixture. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Place a plastic wrap on the surface of the mixture and chill for 1 hour. Whip the cream and put in chilled pastry cream. For the Choux: Line two baking sheets with lightly greased parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, salt, and water.

Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add flour and mix with a wooden spoon.

Once it has cooled slightly, add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition.

Add the mixture to the piping bag. Pipe 1 1/2 inches round puffs on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F/200°C, then lower the temperature in the oven to 325°F/170°C and bake for 30 minutes.

Let it cool and fill with cream.

For the caramel: In a metal pan, bring sugar, corn syrup, and water to a boil until the sugar has dissolved.

Dip each filled puff into caramel and set aside on parchment to allow the caramel to solidify.

Once the caramel has hardened, dip the puffs in a little more caramel to fix them on the tower.

Sprinkle the remaining caramel over the folded poufs and toss two wooden spoons back and forth to create a tower inlaid with caramel.


The caramel will thicken and harden as it cools down. If this happens just reheat it in the microwave for a few seconds at medium to low power (you don’t want the caramel to become to dark).

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