The Saint Honoré Pastry

Recreate the Saint Honoré Pastry pastry, named after the patron saint of pastry chefs, that calls upon basic techniques of desserts.

The Saint Honoré Pastry

The classics should never be forgotten! I strongly believe that before being able to adventure into the world of dessert creation, you need to master the classics, you need to make them first and make sure you’re damn good at them and only then you can take things one step further and create your own mix of flavors. Recipe creation takes chemistry, takes study, takes experimenting and working on it. If one of them is missing, it just won’t work properly or won’t produce consistent results.

To improve the way you understand recipes or how you combine flavors, the first thing to do is to back to the classics and start baking and cooking! Master those first, make sure you know every element well enough, make sure you understand why they use certain ingredients and not others and only then you can change a few things here and there, only then you can come up with your own mix and your own recipes. Bravery is good, but only when you know what you’re talking about! Yes, you can switch strawberries with raspberries for instance, their texture is somehow similar, but they have a different flavor, but you can’t just replace white wheat flour with rice flour (just a random example) without knowing what the impact of this substitution is.

The Saint Honoré Pastry

Long story short though – I went back to basics with the recipe for this Gateau St. Honoré. It’s a cake that’s always been mesmerizing for me and somehow daunting – the flaky base, the choux ring, the caramel, the pastry cream – it just felt a bit too much at first. But when you break it down into elements that you master, it gets easy. One thing I do need to work on is the puff pastry – I’ve only been using shortcuts so far, which are ok, but not when you wanna call yourself a pastry chef!

Gateau Saint Honoré is a cake that has history behind as well – it wears the name of Saint Honore, the patron of the French patissiers and the recipe itself it is said to be almost 2 centuries old. The gateau is made out of a puff pastry or even shortcut pastry and choux pastry which are then filled with pastry cream and glued together around the edges of the puff pastry with caramelized sugar. The center is then filled with either pastry cream, chiboust cream or creme mousseline. I decided to go with a mix of the classic vanilla pastry cream and a caramel pastry cream to complement the sugar glaze. The final cake was delicate, milky and each slice felt like proper comfort food.

The Saint Honoré Pastry
 
Recreate the Saint Honoré Pastry pastry, named after the patron saint of pastry chefs, that calls upon basic techniques of desserts.
Author:
Recipe Type: Pastry, dessert
Ingredients
Choux pastry:
  • 150ml (5 fluid ounces) water
  • 100ml (3.4 fluid ounces) whole milk
  • 100g (3.5 ounces) butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 150g (5.3 ounces) bread flour
  • 4-5 eggs
Vanilla Creme Diplomat:
  • 300ml (10 fluid ounces) whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 120g (4.2 ounces) white sugar
  • 30g (1 ounces) cornstarch
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4g (0.14 ounces) gelatin + 20ml (0.67 fluid ounces) cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50g (1.7 ounces) mascarpone cream
  • 150ml (5 fluid ounces) heavy cream, whipped
Caramel Creme Diplomat:
  • 300ml (10.1 fluid ounces) whole milk
  • 80g (2.82 ounces) white sugar + 40ml (1.35 fluid ounces) water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 30g (1 ounce) white sugar
  • 30g (1 ounce) cornstarch
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4g (0.14 ounces) gelatin + 20ml (0.67 fluid ounces) cold water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Amaretto
  • 150ml (5 fluid ounces) heavy cream, whipped
  • You will also need:
  • 1 sheet puff pastry (homemade or store bought)
  • 150g (5.3 ounces) sugar to caramelize
Instructions
Choux pastry:
  1. Combine the water, milk, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan and place over low heat until the butter is melted.
  2. Once the butter is melted completely, turn the heat on high and bring to a boil.
  3. The moment it comes to a boil, remove off heat and immediately add the flour, all at once. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until the flour is well absorbed. Place the saucepan back over medium flame and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, mixing all the time, until a layer of dough remains on the bottom of the pan - keep the flame on medium to avoid burning and mix all the time with the spatula or spoon to cook out the liquid.
  4. Remove from heat and allow the dough to cool down for 10 minutes.
  5. Start incorporating the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Add the last egg bit by bit to make sure you're not adding too much egg. The number of eggs used depends on the humidity of the dough, even on weather and the size of the eggs.
  6. The dough is ready when it falls off the spoon and leaves a streak that doesn't collapse on itself if you run your finger through it.
  7. Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitter with a round nozzle.
  8. Roll the sheet of puff pastry into a thin layer - about 0.5cm thickness.
  9. Cut a circle of puff pastry of about 20cm diameter and place it in a baking tray.
  10. Pipe a circle of choux pastry on the edge of the puff pastry. Pipe the remaining choux pastry on a different tray into small dollops (choux, profiterols).
  11. Bake both the trays in the preheated oven at 350F - 180C for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown, risen and crisp.
  12. Allow to cool down.
Vanilla Creme Diplomat:
  1. Bloom the gelatin in cold water.
  2. Heat the milk in a pot over low heat.
  3. In the meantime, mix the egg yolks and sugar, as well as a pinch of salt in a bowl until creamy and pale.
  4. Add the cornstarch and mix well.
  5. Pour in the hot milk then transfer back on heat and cook for 1-2 minutes until thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and add the gelatin.
  7. Cover the cream with plastic wrap on the surface and allow to cool down completely.
  8. When chilled, mix with an electric mixer until creamy again then add the vanilla and mascarpone and mix well.
  9. Fold in the whipped cream then spoon the creme diplomat into a pastry bag fitted with a St. Honore nozzle.
Caramel Creme Diplomat:
  1. Bloom the gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes at least.
  2. Combine 80g sugar with water in a saucepan and place over medium heat.
  3. Cook for a few minutes, washing down the sides of the pot with a brush dipped in cold water, until it begins to turn golden brown and it has a nice amber color.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool down for 5 minutes. Add the milk and place back on heat.
  5. Keep on low heat until the sugar is completely melted.
  6. In the meantime, mix the egg yolks with the remaining sugar, plus a pinch of salt. Add the cornstarch and mix well.
  7. Pour the hot milk over the cornstarch then return back on heat and cook for 1-2 additional minutes until thickened.
  8. Remove from heat, stir in the gelatin and cover with plastic wrap on the surface. Allow to cool down completely.
  9. Mix with an electric mixer until creamy.
  10. Fold in the whipped cream then spoon half of the cream into a pastry bag fitted with a small nozzle. Reserve the remaining cream aside.
To assemble the gateau:
  1. Start by making a tiny hole at the bottom of each choux bun then fill all of them with caramel creme diplomat. Place aside.
  2. Make a wet caramel by combining 150g sugar with 65ml water. When it has an amber color, remove from heat and allow to cool down for 1 minute.
  3. Take the filled choux buns and dip the top into the hot caramel. Place right away on a sheet of baking paper to set. Work quickly as the caramel tends to cool down and set - if it's too thick, place it back on low heat for 1-2 minutes then continue dipping the buns.
  4. Once the top of each bun is set, reheat your remaining caramel and dip the bottom of the buns as well, glueing them right away on the ring of puff pastry - try to glue them as close to the edge as possible and make sure you use a thin layer of caramel for this step.
  5. Once all the choux buns are in place, use the remaining caramel creme diplomat to fill the bottom of the gateau.
  6. Top the caramel cream with the vanilla cream, piping it with the special St. Honore nozzle.
  7. Decorate with choux buns and caramel strings just before serving.

 

Oana Olguta

I am a self-taught baker and pastry-school graduate and I have an affinity for food. But I especially love baking, taking pictures, exploring dessert cookbooks, entremets and writing. I focus on creative desserts and baking techniques that are aimed to both novices and experts in the kitchen and I truly believe that being a pastry chef is not about looking for innovative ways of making desserts, but about learning the basic techniques and then combining them into new, original desserts, relying on textures and flavors.

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