I think my camera skills are getting a tad bit better, eh? 😉 That beauty right there is Gâteau Saint Honoré, aka St. Honoré cake. It’s essentially a puff pastry and pâte à choux base filled with crème chiboust (aka delicious cream) topped with filled cream puffs that are dipped in caramel and lovingly slathered in whipped cream. If that doesn’t make your mouth water I don’t know what will! For the majority of the recipe all you will need to do is polish up your cream puff skills – head over to my previous post for instructions on how to make perfect cream puffs!
Instructions & Assembly:
For the puff pastry base there’s no need to spend hours making your own, just use the store bought stuff and cut an 8 inch circle out of it and prick it with a fork all over so it doesn’t puff up too much. Before baking your 8 inch puff pastry circle pipe a ring of pate a choux around the edge and a small ring in the middle (see above picture ) and then pipe all of your delightful little cream puffs onto the same sheet. Dust them in powdered sugar and bake at 350 for approximately 40 minutes.
Now, the filling. Crème Chiboust is a pastry cream that is lightened with Italian meringue and happens to be the most traditional of fillings for the St. Honore cake. In 1846 Pastry Chef Chiboust created the Gâteau Saint Honoré in honor of not only Saint Honore – the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs – but also in honor of the street his pastry shop was located on – Rue Saint-Honoré – in Paris. If you’d like step by step directions on how to make Italian meringue head on over to my Italian Meringue Buttercream post. Just make sure not to add the butter and turn it into buttercream – we just want the meringue! However, if you are uncomfortable with Italian meringue you may also make a Crème Diplomat which is pastry cream lightened with regular old whipped cream. Whatever you choose to use, make it and fill your cream puffs with it, but save about half of if for piping into your base.
As you can see the next biggest step is the caramel. This is not sticky or chewy in any way. This is hard caramel, but not so hard or thick that it will break a tooth or make it impossible to chew. In fact, the flavor and crunch of the caramel is one of my favorite parts! I even took some of the leftover caramel and drizzle it onto wax paper. Once it hardened I cracked off little spears and used them to decorate my cake :-). The trick to the caramel is to watch it closely. As soon as the temperature reaches 335 degrees turn off the burner and immediately place the pan into a bowl or sink filled with ice water to stop cooking. Even a few seconds can be the difference between delicious caramel and burnt sugar. Trust me, that smell takes a while to leave the kitchen.
Once your caramel is done, **carefully** dip the tops of your filled cream puffs into the caramel and place them dipped side down on wax paper. Once they’ve set, which doesn’t take long, you can quickly reheat your caramel to dipping consistency if it has hardened and dip the bottoms of the puffs to “glue” them to the outer ring of the base. I also “glued” a cream puff to the center ring for added appeal. Using a decorative pastry tip fill the cavity you’ve created about 2/3 full with Crème Chiboust. Using the same pastry bag you can pipe decorative whipped cream on top of the Crème Chiboust and also around the base if you’d like (not traditional but I liked the finished product). Here’s your finished product:
I hope you enjoy the construction AND the eating of this fabulous dessert. It really is one of those cakes that delights both the eyes and the mouth. Below you will find the Crème Chiboust and caramel recipes. Here are printable step by step instructions for cream puffs, Italian meringue, and stabilized whipped cream. Good luck and happy eating!
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp gelatin powder bloomed in 2 tablespoons of the whole milk
- Prepared Italian meringue (see link in post)
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/8 cup granulated sugar
- Bring milk, 1 Tbsp sugar, and vanilla to simmer and turn of burner.
- In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar, then add flour and corn starch.
- Add about half a cup of the milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture and whisk quickly so that you don't scramble the eggs. Add remaining milk mixture and pour the whole mixture back into your saucepan.
- Bring to a boil. Cook for 2 mins, whisking the whole time.
- Remove saucepan from the burner, add your gelatin mixture and whisk until incorporated.
- Transfer your pastry cream to a bowl large enough to combine it with the Italian meringue. If you make your meringue now, cover the top of your cream (on the actual cream, not just the bowl) with plastic wrap so that a skin does not form.
- Once your meringue is finished, quickly whisk a third of it into your pastry cream. This is significantly loosen your pastry cream and make it easier to work with.
- Fold another third into your pastry cream, and then the final third.
- Crème Chiboust can be used warm or cooled to room temperature but finished product should be eaten right away or stored in the refrigerator.
- In a medium saucepan combine your corn syrup, water, and sugar.
- Cook on high heat, covered for approximately 5 minutes. Don't peek at your sugar - the steam from the lid creates a self cleaning effect so there's no need to continuously "wash" the sides of the pan.
- Reduce to medium high heat and remove your lid. Cook until temperature reaches 335 degrees and immediately remove from the heat and place pan bottom into a bowl or sink filled with ice water to stop the cooking. Remove the pan from the ice bath after approx. 20-30 seconds.
- Use immediately. If sugar becomes too hard, gently reheat until it just reaches dipping consistency.