Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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croquembouche (also croque-en-bouche) is a French dessert made by sticking together cream puffs with caramel. In the nineteenth century the pastry was formed using a cylindrical or other mold, though today it is more common to stack the puffs into a tall, pointed tower. Croquembouche literally means “crack (or crunch) in the mouth”—due to the consistency of the hardened caramel.

A pastry bearing this name became popular in the early nineteenth century, its invention being—like so many others—attributed to Antonin Carême. The great pastry chef does indeed give extensive instructions as well as several illustrations for very elaborate pièces montées called croquembouche in several of his cookbooks. See carême, marie-antoine.