Black Croquembouche

by Barry Lewis


Makes a small tower – approx. 40 nr profiteroles
180g butter, diced into cubes
450ml cold water
190g Plain Flour
6 eggs, beaten
2tbsp dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled
2.5tbsp activated charcoal (optional)

Cream filling
600ml double cream
1tbsp vanilla extract
100g icing sugar

To decorate & build
300g White chocolate, melted

It’s time for the latest charcoal / black recipe and despite considering using squid ink, the potent smell put me off and I luckily had some activated charcoal leftover! Behold ‘the dark chocolate choux pastry cream filled white chocolate drenched activated charcoal croquembouche’ that actually ended up self saucing itself in white chocolate! This was such fun and a really fun challenge, of course the activated charcoal is optional but do give it a go 🙂

You actually don’t need to make a cone either, you could build it from the base up like a tower or any shape you like, but you can get some pretty good cone moulds online that are very rigid and mean you can move it easy to shape / chill it.

First up lets make the dark chocolate choux pastry! Melt the butter in a saucepan with the water, let it come just to a simmer, then add in the flour and stir together quickly as it thickens and cooks the flour. Keep it over a low heat until it starts to bond together like a big lump / ball and is smooth, not touching the sides of the pan. This will take 3-4 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add in the charcoal (if using) and the chocolate, stir until smooth and the colour has changed if applicable. Transfer to a bowl for the pastry to cool to room temperature.

Once the pastry has cooled, use an electric whisk and in batches slowly add in the beaten eggs, mixing each time until all the egg mixture is in the bowl and it is looking smooth and glossy – the chocolate choux pastry is ready! Transfer to a piping bag and pipe onto a lined baking tray well spaced apart. If they have spikes on top (as per mine in the video) wet a spoon and smooth the tops. Do table tennis sized shapes (or bigger if you wish) ideally, they will double in size. Bake at 200c/180fan/Gas 6 for approx 35 minutes, turning half way. Do not open the oven before half way or they could sag, the steam helps the choux pastry rise!!! Be quick when you turn them. After the full 35 minutes (or until just starting to brown, they’ll look firm. Take out the oven and make a small incision with a knife into the sides of each puffed up ball. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes, this helps dry out the choux pastry! Take out and allow to cool fully on a wire rack – keep going or put in the freezer for another day!

If piping straight away, using a clean electric whisk whip up the cream in a bowl until thickened, add in the icing sugar and vanilla extract then whizz through until merged. Make crosses in the bottom of each profiterole and pipe cream into them, repeat with all. Now build in your cone or build on a surface from scratch if you wish, using melted chocolate to hold it together.

Allow to chill in a cold place (like a garage!) or in your fridge if you can until firmed and set! Reveal the croquembouche and drizzle with extra melted white chocolate!