I realize it's been weeks since I posted anything. Both daughters (plus one future son-in-law) were here for the holidays. My oldest daughter, Christine, and I made this croquembouche to take to my parents house for Christmas Eve dinner. It's a challenging dessert. More of a project, really. It can't be made too far in advance because the caramel will turn sticky if you refrigerate the croquembouche and, for safety's sake (cream filling), you wouldn't want to leave it at room temperature for more than a few hours.
I made the vanilla pastry cream the night before. Christine and I made the choux paste, piped it out onto parchment lined pans and baked the puffs in the morning and then, just a couple hours before dinner, we made the caramel, filled (injected) the puffs with the pastry cream and assembled the croquembouche with the caramel "glue."