First off, preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas Mark 5 and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Into a saucepan, weigh out your Graham’s milk and your butter and place on a high heat. Once they’ve come to the boil, remove the pan from the heat and add all your flour at once, stirring everything together with a wooden spoon. It’s supposed to look pretty disgusting at this stage!
Return your pan to the heat and turn it down to medium. Stir and stir and stir your mix until it comes together into a smooth lump and some of it starts sticking to the bottom and sides. Once it reaches this stage, try to keep stirring for a minute more just to be sure it’s dry enough.
It needs to cool slightly before you add the eggs, so you can keep stirring out the heat with your spoon. But if your arms are aching as much as mine, you can turn it out into a bowl and use an electric whisk. You know it’s ready for the eggs when there’s no more steam rising from your pan/bowl.
Add the eggs and then the egg white one at a time, beating vigorously until smooth after each addition.
Spoon or pipe little lumps onto your tray, leaving plenty of space between each one. They should be about 2cm in diameter and you’ll get 12-18 from the mix.
Bake in your preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn down to 180/160 fan/Gas Mark 4 and bake for another 15 minutes until dark golden brown. Once they’re done, leave them to cool whilst you prepare the caramel and cream.
Whip your Graham’s cream until just stiff, adding a little sugar or vanilla to taste. Put this in a freezer bag (or piping bag if you have one) and squeeze it all into the corner. Make little holes in your cooled buns using the tip of a knife then fill each with whipped cream by cutting off the end of your bag.
Finally, this is the fun bit. In a saucepan, stir together your sugar and lemon juice over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Don’t stir anymore! Bring to the boil and keep boiling until it goes a soft, golden brown colour. Remove from the heat and VERY CAREFULLY (it’s hot) spoon bits of your caramel onto your choux buns to stick them together into a tower.
Once your tower is assembled, your caramel will have cooled to the perfect temperature for making spun sugar. Take a spoon of caramel and whip it backwards and forwards over the handle of a wooden spoon. Once you’ve got enough, gather it all up into a nest and place it on top of your croquembouche. SERVE. (phew).
The more ‘puff’ in your choux balls (ie profiteroles) the better. And to get supreme rise in the oven, you really need to make the flour, butter and milk mixture as dry as possible in the pan. The more steam that you evaporate off, the better.