One of the things that I like the most about designing American weddings in Paris is coming up with interesting ways to mix the two cultures. With a little bit of creativity, I’ve found that a lot of the ideas work just as well for a Paris-themed wedding or event held outside of France. For instance, one of the ways that I like to suggest that my clients add a touch of Parisian drama to their wedding is by serving a traditional French wedding cake- a croquembouche, instead of the classic multi-tiered American cake for dessert.
The croquembouche is a tower of creme-filled, puff-pastry balls (called “choux” in French) which are piled into a high pyramid and encircled with caramelized sugar. This sugar is what gives the dessert it’s name- croquembouche loosely translates to “crunch in the mouth”. In addition to spun sugar, the croquembouche can be decorated with icing, chocolate, sugared almonds or candy ribbons. In France, any patisserie worth its weight in salt will be able to help you obtain a croquembouche. In the US, though, it’s just not as simple. There are well-known bakeries in the States that make croquembouche, like Ceci Cela in New York and Maison Richard in LA. But for smaller towns or cities, you’ll just have to keep your eyes and ears open… OR you can try making your own croquembouche! Now, I’ve been told that it’s surprisingly easy to create these masterpieces, but I also understand that baking your own wedding cake could be pretty high on the “life stresser” list. So, I’m going to break this recipe into several episodes to help you get your head around the whole idea. To get you started, here is a video of a simple recipe for choux pastry: