Saturday, July 2, 2011

Gateau St Honore

This evil little puppy. Whoever came up with it was up to no good. The Gateau Saint Honore is made of a puff pastry base, a ring of choux pastry encircling a filling of silky light chiboust cream (meringue lightened pastry cream), accented with cream puffs dipped in caramel and garnished with a generous swirl of chantily cream. What's that? Not enough cream? Oh let's be friends. :D
For the puff pastry base, measure the butter square, roll out the flaps (this was so much fun!) and tuck that butter baby in nice and snug. Don't get too attached. You'll be smashing and rolling it and sticking it in the cold fridge.
Fold like a business letter, chill 40 minutes, repeat 5 more times for traditional puff pastry and only 3 more times for this cake! What a deal. I opted to make miniature cakes so I cut them little circles. See that middle photo right below? That's the culprit...the hot caramel that is responsible for the fat blister on someone's left thumb! Actually the thumb's owner's own stupidity is to blame.

To make puff pastry, you need two things which I lacked. One, the ability to roll dough into shapes that don't resemble amoebas. Two, the patience of a saint. The dough needs to rest for 40 minutes after each turn (there are six turns! can't even count them on one hand) to let the gluten relax and the butter rechill so it doesn't melt and stick the precious layers together. I was on my 5th or 6th turn...forgot to do the indentation dough thing to keep track, and I checked another recipe from the Pastry Bible (not the recipe I was using, but I was just curious) and to my elation it said that you only need 4 turns for the St Honore because the base of the cake doesn't need all 1000 or so layers of traditional puff pastry. Me and that book became friends real fast.
The spun sugar was actually really easy to make. I watched a few youtube videos of some really pro people making spun sugar, and then got sidetracked and found myself gawking at old Asian ladies making dragons and phoenixes and stuff out of caramel. Amazing! But being the overachiever I am, I made something even better. The phoenix's maison. What did you say? Oh please, don't inflate my ego.
Hear that? It's the puff pastry calling your name. Needless to say, the seductively dripping chiboust cream is intentional.

I used a combination of the recipe from Tartelette's beautiful blog and the one from the Pastry Bible. My ring of choux pastry on top of the puff pastry was definitely too fat, and unfairly cheated me out of my precious chiboust cream filling. Also the three cream puffs on this cake are the only three presentable ones from the batch - the others were either the size of grapes or the shape of oversized lumpy popcorn. My piping skills never fail to amaze me. To be honest, I really only cared for the chiboust cream! I could just live on that stuff. Next time I'll just make a vat of chiboust cream and dine in heaven. Since it'd be sans the butter-laden puff pastry, it would be figure friendly too...


  1. The play-by-play description of your adventurous pastry making was hilarious! It made me giggle out loud at work, but I quickly masked it as a cough. Ahem. I absolutely love puff pastry... This looks delicious!!

    love, the other Annie Wu :D

  2. Hi! I'm working on a recipe round-up of French desserts for The Huffington Post Taste and I'd love to feature your recipe. Please contact me if you're interested. Thanks!