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  • Written by Madelaine Bullwinkel

My Croquembouche


There are times when healthy eating gets boring.  All things in moderation, they say, even moderation.  We all need a moment of excess; some of us need it daily.  Occasionally, excess takes the form of a breathtaking sweet à la belle cuisine Française.

Two hundred years ago a great confectioner, Auguste Carême, built an awe-inspiring edible empire of temples and pyramids with  marzipan, nougat and caramel.  In a moment of dangerously high self-esteem, Carême proclaimed pastry "the highest form of architecture”.  They're all gone now, eaten, crumbled, all Carême’s grandiose pièces montées (mounted pieces) save one: le croquemebouche

Few francophiles have seen much less tasted a croquembouche.  This tower of cream-filled choux pastry is reserved for momentous occasions such as a wedding reception, a communion or a baptism.   What makes is this stunning dessert so rare?   I recently took the opportunity to find out at a Lenôtre pastry school in Paris.  

Here are my notes....

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