According to Wikipedia, St. Honoré is the French patron saint of pastry chefs. Did anybody else know that professions got their own patron saints? I certainly didn’t. I’m not sure there is one for Chemistry PhD students, I’ve been informed that St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless cases, I guess that will do for the time being.
Anyway, this cake is a splendid edible homage to St. Honoré. I’ve got to say, if you’re going to be immortalised in confectionary form, this really is the way to go. Gâteau St. Honoré is comprised of a choux pastry base (sometimes made with a puff pastry), topped with crème pâtissière, and chantilly cream filled, caramel dipped choux buns. The way you decorate your gâteau really is up to you. A quick Google image search shows that spun sugar and chocolate seem to be popular options, here I went for a few raspberries and blueberries because I liked the little extra height it gave the dessert.
The crème pâtissière
- 6 egg yolks
- 125g caster sugar
- 40g plain flour, sifted
- 500ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod
- Whisk the eggs yolks and approximately one third of the sugar together in a large mixing bowl
- Add the flour to the mixture
- Split the vanilla pod and add it to a fairly large saucepan with the milk and the remaining sugar.
- Heat until the mixture.
- As soon as it starts to boil pour the hot milk mixture onto the egg yolk mixture whilst stirring
- Mix well and return the mixture to the saucepan
- Bring to the boil over medium heat, continuously stirring with a whisk
- Let the mixture bubble for approximately two minutes
- Using a sieve, strain the crème pât. into a bowl
- Dust the surface of the crème pât. with icing sugar, or dot with flakes of butter (this will prevent the formation of a skin)
The choux pastry
- 200ml cold water
- 85g unsalted butter
- 4 teaspoons caster sugar
- 115g plain flour, sifted
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
- since of salt
- Place the water, butter and sugar into a saucepan on medium heat
- Gently heat until the butter has completely melted
- Turn up the heat and quickly pour in the flour and salt
- Remove from the heat and beat until the mixture becomes a smooth paste
- Once the mixture begins to come away from the sides of the pan, transfer it to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool for 10 – 15 minutes
- Once cooled, beat in the eggs a bit at a time until smooth and glossy
The chantilly cream and assembling the gâteau
- 300ml double cream
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
PREHEAT OVEN 180˚C
- Line 2 baking trays with baking paper
- One one of the trays draw around a circular 9inch (23cm) cake tin
- Starting from the middle of the circle pipe a choux pastry spiral, filling in the drawn out circle.
- On the other tray, pipe 12 small choux buns.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes
- Whilst the choux pastry is in the oven, whip the cream until girl
- Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the cream, add two tablespoons of the sugar and mix together
- Heat the remaining sugar in a non-stick saucepan, and allow to caramelise
- Remove the pastry from the oven
- Dip each bun in the caramel
- Remove the crème pât. from the fridge and transfer half of it into a piping bag
- Pipe a large spiral of crème pât. onto the choux pastry ring, covering the entirety of the pastry
- Mix the remainder of the crème pât. and approximately a third of the chattily cream together and pipe into the choux buns
- Assemble the buns around the parameter of the crème pât. spiral base
- Fill in any remaining space with piped blobs of chattily cream
- Decorate with spun sugar, chocolate, berries or any delicious thing you can think of.
- Et voilà.. a delicious homage to the patron saint of pastry chefs!