Thanks to the World Wide Web, Youtube and everyone who shared recipes and videos, I did make a good Croquembouche. The recipient loved it.
The very first site that I referred to when I thought about this dessert was The Daring Kitchen. And then of course, I had to stop by Joy of Baking. Have a look at both the recipes, the only variables that I changed were the oven temperature and cooking time. To make the Pate a Choux, I doubled the quantities listed in Joy of Baking. I baked the shells at 420 F for 12 minutes and then reduced the temperature to 320 F and baked for 40 minutes more. At the 35 minute mark, I did split a Choux in two to check if it was cooked completely on the inside.
Based on a few videos that I watched, it is quite common for the first time Choux maker to end up with shells that are slightly wet on the inside. If you find that after 40 minutes of baking your Chox are still a little wet just let them dry in the oven. Fret not, mild wetness is a minor flaw that will get masked by the pastry cream. The recipe gave me 29 Choux.
I used the Pastry Cream recipe from Joy of Baking.
The assembly was when I had the most fun. Now, a lot of recipes and videos ask for poking a tiny hole in the Choux and then piping the cream in them. You don’t really have to waste your time doing that. These Choux are not dainty delicate darlings. I just made gashes in mine and spooned some cream in their mouths.
For the hard caramel glaze, just add 1/4th cup of water and 2 teaspoons of corn syrup to a cup of sugar. Mix until the sugar and water are incorporated. Heat the mixture on a medium flame until the sugar syrup turns amber in color (do NOT stir in between). Now, I cooled my cooking pan with ice cold water but I suspect if that is the reason for my caramel to set mid-way. I had to heat it up again to get a free flowing liquid. Dip each Choux in the caramel and arrange however you want. The caramel acts like a glue and holds your stack in place. Pour some caramel on your stack and dip a fork in the rest and form lines, swirls etc on a parchment lined baking sheet. Collect the spun sugar and decorate. It is as easy as that!