St. Honoré - The Cake, The Saint, and The Pastry Tip

The St. Honoré tip is by far the most requested of the specialty pastry tips I carry. It looks like a large plain tip with a v cut in the front. And if you have ever had this dessert, you would understand its elegant appeal. If you make everything from scratch, the dessert requires some planning, advanced preparation and last minute work: the Gateau St. Honoré is a combination of puff pastry, caramelized sugar, filled cream puffs (pâte à choux), and crème chiboust (meringue and pastry cream).
 
St. Honoré - The Saint

Saint Honoré is a dessert named after Saint Honoratus, the bishop of Amiens, and the patron saint of bakers, flour merchants, confectioners, and pastry chefs. His feast is celebrated on May 16 by Catholics. He died around 600 and when his body was exhumed in 1060, miracles were said to have happened at that time. The Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris is named after him.

St. Honoré - image courtesy Shovelmonkey1
through a creative commons license
via Flickr. 
St. Honoré - The Dessert

Incredibly rich and labor intensive, it makes a memorable dessert. This procedure is adapted from The Roux Brothers on Patisserie, which has one of the best recipes I've read. At home, it seems to be an all day project. From my experience in professional bake shops and kitchens, it doesn't seem to be all that difficult as the ingredients are usually on hand: Italian meringue leftover from a mousse mixed with par pastry cream combined with extra choux pastry and frozen puff pastry make up an easy dessert. It is just as much fun to eat as it is to make.
 
Use your favorite chiboust and pâte à choux recipes. If using frozen puff pastry, handle when it is very cold as warm puff pastry is hard to handle and is misshapen easily.

St. Honoré Recipe
  • 9 to 10 inch circle puff pastry
  • Pâte à choux - about 9 ounces finished paste
  • Egg wash
  • Chiboust (vanilla pastry cream or thick pudding mixed with Italian meringue)
  • Granulated sugar, for caramel

St. Honoré Base - Image courtesy
Roland through a creative
commons license via Flickr
. 
Place the puff pastry circle on a flat sheet pan. Dock the dough using a dough docker or prick with a fork. Using an 805 or 806 pastry tip, pipe the choux paste in a fairly flat spiral beginning in the center and extending all the way to the edge, then create a border of choux paste around the edge of the puff pastry circle. The border should be thicker than the center spiral. Brush the choux piping with egg wash and let rest for about a half an hour before baking. With the rest of the choux paste, pipe about 20 small choux puffs onto a separate sheet pan, about 3/4 inch in diameter. Brush with egg wash.

 
Place both sheet pans in the oven on separate racks, and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Cook the small puffs another 10 to 12 minutes until browned and puffed. Remove them from the oven, and continue to bake the St. Honoré base another 20 minutes, or until browned and completely cooked. Cool.

 
Caramelize granulated sugar in a heavy saucepan. Poke a hole in the bottoms of each of the cooled cream puffs (for filling) and dip the tops of them in the caramelized hot sugar. Place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan to cool.

 
Prepare the crème chiboust. Fill the cream puffs with it using a small plain pastry tip or a bismark tip. Arrange the caramel-coated cream puffs around the edge of the St. Honoré base, dipping the bottoms in a little hot caramelized sugar to hold them in place.
Pipe remaining crème chibouse in a chevron pattern (or other decorative pattern) in the center of the cake using a St. Honore pastry tip. If desired, spin sugar with any leftover caramel into a nest, ball, or other shape

 

 
 

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