Gâteau Saint Honoré – Saint Honoré Cake

Posted on January 15, 2013

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Finished St. Honorê Cake

Gâteau Saint Honoré is a traditional French/European dessert.  Saint Honoré is the patron saint of bakers.  A quick note, about the scale of the one I made – it looks like a croquembouche because it needed to feed ~10-12 people.  Normally these seem to be smaller (2-4 people) – but making more of them.  This would make a very cute individual dessert.   This gâteau is very similar to croquembouche – in that it is cream puffs stuck to things with caramel.  It is built on a base of puff pastry (unlike a metal stand designed to hold cream puffs), and the cream puffs are stacked, and then the spaces are filled with crème chiboust which is pastry cream plus meringue.  It is also often decorated with sweetened whipped cream (crème chantilly), or in this case stabilized whipped cream.  

Almost finished St. Honorê Cake

Almost finished St. Honorê Cake

Components:

Cream Puffs (most of the recipe is used, with a few spares)  Reserve some pâte a choux for piping onto the puff pastry.

Puff Pastry (one half of the recipe is used)

1.0 Assemble the Base

Ingredients:
  • Pate-a-Choux
  • Puff Pastry – half the recipe.
    Instructions:
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400°
  • Roll out the puff pastry, too about a quarter of an inch thick.
  • Cut out a circle (or multiple, if making small ones).  I used an 8″ bottom of a springform pan.
  • Make sure to cut in small sharp motions – try not to stretch the edge you’re creating.
  • Move the round piece to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Dock the dough, or cut a pretty pattern.
  • Brush with the left over egg wash from the cream puffs.
  • With a large round pastry tip, Pipe a line of pate-a-choux around the edge – about a half inch in from the edge.
  • Next to the puff pastry, pipe a spiral of pate-a-choux – one that will fit on your circle of puff pastry later.  (note, I did this on the puff pastry, but it left the middle too heavy – and not as puffy, next time I will bake it separately and stick it on with caramel).
  • Brush the pate-a-choux bits with the egg wash.
  • Place in oven, and drop the temperature to 375°
  • Bake for about 50 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, and let cool completely before continuing with assembly.
  • Meanwhile, make the whipped cream, and have your cream puffs done and standing by!

2.0 Whipped Cream

Ingredients:
  • 12 cups    _________________ cream
  • 1   tsp ________________ vanilla extract
  • 3   TBSP ________________ super fine caster sugar(or  confectioner sugar is OK too)
  • 1 Recipe ________________ stabilizer (see below)
Stabilizer Part of the Cream:
  • 14 cups    ________________ cream
  • 1 sheet ________________ gelatin (or just under 1 tsp granules)
  • 1 TBSP ________________ water
Instructions:
  • Cut up the sheet of gelatin, and soak it in the water
  • Simmer the cream lightly.
  • Take the gelatin sheets out of the water after a few minutes, and squeeze out the excess water.
  • Whisk the gelatin into the warm cream.
  • Let this mixture cool down, till it has a yogurt like texture.
  • DON’T Let it get to firm.
  • Whisk the rest of the cream (half a cup) with the stabilizer, starting slowly so you don’t get cream everywhere (I once spilled cream all over – it is not fun to clean up)
  • Once it starts to come together a bit, add the sugar.
  • Whisk to light peaks, add the vanilla.
  • Whisk to stiff peaks.
  • Put in a piping bag with a star tip (or whatever you want)
  • Keep in the fridge till needed.  Since it’s stabilized, it won’t get watery, or fall, or “sweat” MAGIC! (non-vegetarian magic though.  Agar could be substituted for gelatin – no need to soak the agar though).

2.0 Caramel (To stick it together with)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup  ________________ Super fine Caster Sugar
  • If you don’t have caster sugar (which you can find at fancy pants grocery stores) put just over a cup of sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times.
  • A wide saucepan

This is a “scary” method of making caramel – it requires attention (no thermometer needed really though).  Have the cream puffs and everything else ready to go.  Hopefully you coated one side of the cream puffs already – since this is just like that.  If you didn’t, you can do that part now.

Before you get started, put your puff pastry bottom on a platter, or cake board, or whatever plate/serving piece you want.

Instructions:
  • Put your pan over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle just enough sugar to cover the bottom of the pan.
  • Watch carefully while it turns to liquid.
  • Now add a bit more sugar.
  • You can stir very very very carefully with a heat proof spatula – try to avoid making lumps.
  • Don’t worry if it turns caramel color – just add some more sugar.
  • Once you’ve dissolved all the sugar – turn the heat off – but leave the pot on the hot burner.
  • Dip the bottom of the spiral of cooked pate-a-choux in the caramel, and stick it to the middle of the puff pastry.
  • Quickly dip the other side of a cream puff, and stick it to the puff pastry, repeat this with as many cream puffs as it takes to go around.
  • On the next row, place the cream puffs so they overlap with the two puffs below them.
  • Continue till you have a nice tower (you can stop short of that if you want, and fill with cream, that seems to be pretty traditional).
  • Once you’ve stick all the cream puffs together into a nice pyramid (cone technically), pipe the whipped cream around the bottom, and top, and any spaces

Voilà!

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Posted in: Cake, Complicated, Recipe