I don’t have a bucket list.  Not really.  But I do have some random things I’d really like to do in my life.  One of these is to drive as fast as I possibly can in a really fast car (I see a 3am trip on the autobahn in my future).  Another is to make a croquembouche

I’ve been obsessed by them ever since I read an article about a pastry chef when I was 10 or 11.

Unfortunately I couldn’t attempt croquembouchery at the time.  Hawai’i is not croquembouche country.  Choux pastry won’t raise properly in the humidity, and caramel starts dissolving within hours.

When we started planning the Fairies & Dinosaurs at Versailles party I decided it was time to attempt a croquembouche.  I know they are a little too recent for ancien regime Versailles, but you still can’t really get a better representation of a fabulously decadent French dessert.  And they are quite volcano-like too…

So, I learned to make profiteroles (perfect ones on the first try!)

And then I made profiteroles.

Profiterole making thedreamstress.com


And more profiteroles.

Profiterole making thedreamstress.com

And more profiteroles.

Profiterole making thedreamstress.com

Some of them suffered slightly because my oven is crap and I got tired of making them one sheet of profiterole at a time and tried to cook two at once.  Having a fan oven is definitely on my not-actually-a-bucket-list!

Profiterole making thedreamstress.com


And then, on the day of the party, Emily of Ever So Scrumptious was my fairy godmother and brought buckets of pastry creme and came and made caramel and arranged crouquemboucheness while I decorated like a mad thing with Sarah and ran around dealing with car radiator emergencies (isn’t that life).

And she did this even though she was going to have to run off to work all evening and wouldn’t be able to come to the party.  She is amazing.

After Emily rushes off to go be industrious, I drizzled caramel and chocolate lava over our croquembouche and decorated it with fairy flowers and dinosaurs painted rococo pastels.

Fairy & DInosaur Crouquembouche


It came out more prehistoric than super-conical prettiness, but in this situation, it works!

Fairies & Dinosaurs party thedreamstress.com



Fairy & Dinosaur Crouquembouche thedreamstress.com

Fairy & Dinosaur Crouquembouche thedreamstress.com

I can’t decide if I should cross crouquembouche off my list or not.  I’m satisfied for now (also rather sick of eating profiteroles!), but may come back to the idea and will try for a more traditional one.

For now, I’ll leave you with a little silent film style drama of me defending the croquembouche from the bad fairy:

Fairy & Dinosaur Crouquembouche thedreamstress.com

Fairy & Dinosaur Crouquembouche thedreamstress.com

Fairy & Dinosaur Crouquembouche thedreamstress.com

Fairy & Dinosaur Crouquembouche thedreamstress.com

Fairy & Dinosaur Crouquembouche thedreamstress.com

Oh look!  I think we won her over with the croquembouche sweetness, and now she has a profiterole wand!

I wonder what happens if you roast them like marshmallows…


  1. Ambassador you are spoiling us….
    Its a fairy croque en bouche. 🙂
    Will you be entering the Bake off next year?

  2. Heheh. I love profiteroles (also known as “wind-bags” in German: Windbeutel which always makes me laugh at the grocery store). I used the same choux dough to make savory cheese puffs.

    ((P.S. There’s a spelling mistake in your first paragraph “autobahn” instead of autobon. And, even when you’ve got the unlimited speed sections there’s always someone faster than you… so pick a really fast car. 😉 I stay cautiously on the right hand lanes.))

    • I’m going to try to make savory versions of the dough too, but for now I’m happy to have conquered sweet.

      Thanks for the tip on autobahn. I knew it was wrong as I wrote it, but it was midnight and I decided I didn’t care :-p I’m not worried about being the fastest person on the motorway – just about being able to go as fast as I want to, legally! Note the 3am caveat – I’m hoping for less traffic!

  3. I’ve wanted to make one of those since I saw it on The American Baking Competition. Looks delicious!

  4. Your profiteroles were delicious, and I’m plotting ways to make even more delicious pastry cream. When it comes to the croquembouche…we’ll just have to do it AGAIN. This time, with wax paper! ;-D

  5. What fun! I love the silent film drama pictures.

    Your prehistoric profiterole tower looks delicious.
    Might I ask what recipe you used? I tried to make profiteroles once, but it turned out that my recipe was written in an alternate universe where certain measurements are smaller and ovens are cooler. I ended up with tiny, charred lumps of dough in a sea of butter, which was quite sad.

    • I love those pictures too! I need to make caption frames to go with each one.

      I used the profiterole recipe from the Joy of Cooking, and followed it exactly. When in doubt, I ALWAYS use the JoC! I do find that things like profiteroles depend somewhat on the flour and butter – NZ has excellent butter, but the flour is very high in gluten and makes terrible crepes and pancakes, but lovely bread and, as it turns out, excellent profiteroles.

  6. Lynne says

    Wonderful! Your profiteroles are very impressive, despite your oven, and the dinosaur volcano decoration is brilliant!

  7. Yikes, you’re brave! I wouldn’t even attempt choux pastry though I do like profiteroles. Baking is not part of my skill set.

  8. danielinblog.euSeriously? Your fairy dinosaur Versailles party apparently somehow had a lot to do with that lady I mentioned at the previous post. (You can’t speak Slovak, but at least you can take a look at what she’s capable of: http://www.danielinblog.eu/) She’s famous for her profiteroles. I’ve never made any, and after experiencing Daniela’s perfection, I’m more scared than ever of trying; so I think it’s very good for you to have tried, and persevered.
    (And even though I never made any, I heartily reccommend a hot air/fan oven for the purpose of baking several sheets of something at a time.)
    I hope Emily got to taste some before (or after) she ran off to be industrious!

    • I actually can read a (very) little Slovak. I have hidden talents 🙂

      I definitely want a fan oven! So much better for baking almost everything, and my oven is SO crap. Rented houses 🙁

      Emily did get to have a few but not with caramel, so we need to do it again so she can have the full croquembouche experience!

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