Last holiday season I decided to put my puff making to the test and build the croque em bouche (shown left) for a friends Christmas dinner. It was a fun project that took the better part of a day to construct.
This year with only a few hours before a party I got it into my head that we needed a croque em bouche menorah. I typically use a stiff chocolate mousse to fill my puffs but my best friend is allergic to chocolate . She does love cranberries so I whipped up a cranberry cream cheese filling with a hint of blue cheese that was so good that I will use it as a cake filling in the future. I also make my caramel by using apple cider instead of water and you can taste the apples in the finished product.
If you want to learn to make any of the treats based on pate choux, I suggest reading the recipe and description of the process in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (volume one). The apple caramel is a little tricky as you need to use temperature as your guide for when the caramel is ready not color. Have fun!
Cranberry Cream Filling
1 8oz block cream cheese (do not use whipped or soft)
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup or more sifted confectionary sugar
4 tablespoons pureed whole berry cranberry sauce (homemade or canned)
1 tablespoon mild blue cheese
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix all ingredients except sugar and cinnamon in a stand mixer or using a hand mixer untill smoothly combined.
Add sugar and cinnamon and whip until thick and smooth added more sugar as needed
Chill for about 1 hour before using