Mini croquembouche

by Lesley Holdship

Light choux pastry with lilac cream filling


For the choux buns:
50g butter
75ml milk
75ml water
100g plain flour
1 large egg

To fill and ice:
100ml double cream
100g icing sugar
3 tbsp creme de cassis
Granulated sugar
Beautiful embellishments like golden hazelnuts and flower petals 


Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the butter, milk and water in a pan and warm gently until the butter has melted. Simmer for 1 min.

Tip in the flour and stir vigorously. It will look pretty awful to begin with and then everything will come together as a glossy ball of dough. Let it cool slightly.

Break the egg into a bowl and whisk it with a fork for a mo. Start to add the egg to the thick dough, mixing vigorously. It will be really hard to mix in but keep at it. Elbow grease is a must!

Once all the egg has been incorporated, scoop the mixture into a piping bag armed with a simple plain nozzle around ½ cm in diameter. Pipe small bobbles, about 2cm big. You should make around 16. Use a damp finger to smooth the top if it needs TLC.

Bake for 10-12 mins until puffy, crisp and golden. Cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, whip the cream until thick and almost bouffant. Stir through 1 tbsp of icing sugar and 2 tbsp of the cassis.

Next make the glace icing. Beat together the remaining icing sugar and cassis to make a pretty lilac creation. You may need to add a little boiling water if it is too thick.

Take the finest icing nozzle you can find, big enough to accommodate the cream but small enough not to make a big hole in your choux. Fill the piping bag with the cream. Push the nozzle into the bottom of each bun and fill—it’s strangely satisfying, feeling the bun expand!

Next, get your embellishments ready; spun sugar, gold plated nuts, petals, whatever you fancy.

Spoon heaped tsp of icing over each choux bun, then stack them in a pyramid to make a mini croquembouche. About 8 will do the trick.

Decorate with opulence and serve with a kiss and a wink!

Recipe: Lesley Holdship
Images: John Holdship