You can read their posts here:
Helene – Gâteau St. Honoré: We Dare You!
The recipe used is compiled from Bo Friberg’s The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry, 4th Edition and The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef.
For a .pdf version of the recipe, click here.
Recipe background and technique as explained by Helen: Gateau Saint Honor is the “must pass” element of pastry school students and it is a cake that includes several elements and techniques that bakers should try at least once: puff pastry, cream puff dough, caramel and pastry filling. There are many fillings as they are bakeries: chiboust cream, pastry cream, Bavarian cream (aka Diplomat cream).
The cake building goes like this:
– base of puff pastry
– rings of cream dough baked on top (so that the cream sticks)
– cream puffs set on the pastry filling or hooked to the base with hot caramel – cream filling to fill everything
Pate Feuillete – Puff Pastry: Makes about 2 1/2 lb / 1.15kg
3 cups / 420g / 15 oz all-purpose (plain) flour, plus more for work surface
3/4 cup / 105g / 3 3/4 oz cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 Tbsp 7 60g / 2 oz unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, well chilled
1 1/4 cups / 300ml / 10 fl oz cold water
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups / 3 1/2 sticks / 400g / 14 oz unsalted butter, well-chilled
Make the dough package:
In a large mixing bowl, combine both flours with the salt. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture; using your fingers or a pastry cutter, incorporate butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Form a well in center of mixture, and pour the water into well. Using your hands, gradually draw flour mixture over the water, covering and gathering until mixture is well blended and begins to come together. Gently knead mixture in the bowl just until it comes together to form a dough, about 15 seconds. Pat dough into a rough ball, and turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly, and place in refrigerator to chill 1 hour.
Make the butter package:
Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon flour on a sheet of waxed or parchment paper. Place uncut sticks of butter on top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon flour. Top with another sheet of paper; using a rolling pin, pound butter to soften and flatten to about 1/2″ / 1 1/2cm.
Remove top sheet of paper, and fold butter package in half onto itself. Replace top sheet of paper, and pound again until butter is about 1″ / 2 1/2cm thick. Repeat process two or three times, or until butter becomes quite pliable. Using your hands, shape butter package into a 6″ / 15cm square. Wrap well in plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator until it is chilled but not hardened, no more than 10 minutes.
Assemble and roll the dough:
Remove dough package from refrigerator, and place on a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, gently roll dough into a 9″ / 23cm round. Remove butter package from refrigerator, and place it in the center of the dough round. Using a paring knife or bench scraper, lightly score the dough to outline the butter square; remove butter, and set it aside. Starting from each side of the center square, gently roll out dough with the rolling pin, forming four flaps, each about 4 to 5″ / 10 to 12cm long; do not touch the raised square in the center of the dough. Re-place butter package on the center square. Fold flaps of dough over the butter package so that it is completely enclosed. Press with your hands to seal.
Using the rolling pin, press down on the dough at regular intervals, repeating and covering the entire surface area, until it is about 1″ / 2 1/2 cm thick. Gently roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 9 x 20″ / 23 x 50cm, with one of the short sides closest to you. Be careful not to press too hard around the edges, and keep the corners even as you roll out the dough by squaring them with the side of the rolling pin or your hands. Brush off any excess flour. Starting at the near end, fold the rectangle in thirds as you would a business letter; this completes the first single turn.Wrap in plastic wrap; place in refrigerator 45 to 60 minutes.
Remove dough from refrigerator, and repeat process in step 5, giving it five more single turns. Always start with the flap opening on the right as if it were a book. Mark the dough with your knuckle each time you complete a turn to help you keep track. Chill 1 hour between each turn. After the sixth and final turn, wrap dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before using.
Pate a Choux – Cream Puffs Dough
1 cup / 135g / 4 3⁄4 oz all purpose (plain) flour
1 cup / 240 ml water
4 Tbsp 7 60g / 2 oz unsalted butter
1⁄4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
Sift the flour and set aside.
Heat the water, butter and salt to a full rolling boil, so that the fat is not just floating on the top but is dispersed throughout the liquid. Stir the flour into the liquid with a heavy wooden spoon, adding it as fast as it can be absorbed. Avoid adding it all at once or it will form clumps.
Cook, stirring constantly and breaking up the lumps if necessary, by pressing them against the side of the pan with the back of the spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan, about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a mixer bowl. Let the paste cool slightly so that the eggs will not cook when they are added. You can add and stir the eggs by hand but it requires some serious elbow grease. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, using the paddle attachment on low or medium speed. Do not add all the eggs at once. Check after a few, the dough should have the consistency of thick mayonnaise.
Transfer the dough to a piping bag and use as directed.
Saint Honore Cream
(Rapid Chiboust or Diplomat Cream)
1 envelope / 7g unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup / 60ml cold water
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp / 3 1/2 oz / 130g granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup / 65g all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
2 cups / 500ml whole milk
1 Tbsp rum
1⁄4 cup / 60ml whipping cream
3 egg whites
dash of salt
1/2 cup / 100g granulated sugar
Soak the gelatin in the 1/4 cup of cold water.
Put the 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp / 130g granulated sugar, flour, and salt into a saucepan and stir together with a whisk.
Add the yolks and enough milk to make a paste. Whisk in the remainder of the milk.
Place over low heat and stirring constantly, cook until thick. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Stir in the whipping cream. Set the mixing bowl in cold water and stir until the cream is cool.
Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and using clean beaters, whip them with the dash of salt. As soon as the whites begin to stiffen, gradually add the 1/2 cup / 100g of sugar and beat until they are very stiff.
Fold the egg whites into the cooled cream.
1 cup + 2 Tbsp / 8 oz / 225g granulated sugar
Fill a bowl that is large enough to hold the pan used for cooking the sugar with enough cold water to reach halfway up the sides of the pan. Set the bowl aside.
Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and cook the sugar until it has caramelized to just a shade lighter than the desired color.
Remove from the heat and immediately place the bottom of the pan in the bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.
Assembly of Gateau Saint Honore
1 cup / 240ml heavy cream
1 tsp granulated sugar
Step 1: Roll the puff pastry out to a 1/8 inch / 3 mm thick, 12 inch / 30 cm square. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F / 205°C.
Step 2: While the puff pastry is resting, make the pate a choux and place it in a pastry bag with a # 4 (8mm) plain tip. Reserve.
Step 3: Leaving the puff pastry on the sheet pan, cut a 11 inch / 28 cm circle from the dough and remove the scraps. (An easy way to cut it is to use an appropriate sized tart pan as a “cookie cutter”). Prick the circle lightly with a fork.
Step 4: Pipe 4 concentric rings of Pate a Choux on top of the puff pastry circle. Pipe out 12 cream puffs the size of Bing cherries onto the paper around the cake.
Step 5: Bake the puff pastry circle and the cream puffs until the pate a choux has puffed, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F / 190°C and bake until everything is dry enough to hold its shape, about 35 minutes longer for the cake and 8 minutes longer for the cream puffs (just pick them up and take them out as they are done)
Step 6: Place about 4 oz / 115g of the Saint Honore Cream in a pastry bag with a #2 (4mm) plain tip. Use the pastry bag tip or the tip of a paring knife to make a small hole in the bottom of each cream puff. Pipe the cream into the cream puffs to fill them. Refrigerate.
Step 7: Spread the remaining cream filling on the cake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set the cream.
Step 8: Caramelize the sugar. Dip the cream puffs into the hot caramel, using 2 forks or a pair of tongs to avoid burning your fingers. Place them on a sheet pan. The caramel must be hot enough to go on in a thin layer. Reheat if necessary as you are dipping, stirring constantly to avoid darkening the caramel any more than necessary. Also, avoid any Saint Honore cream leaking out of the puffs and getting mixed in with the caramel while dipping, as the cream can cause the sugar to recrystallize.
Step 9: Whip the one cup of heavy cream and teaspoon of sugar to stiff peaks. Place the whipped cream in pastry bag fitted with a #5 (10mm) star tip. Pipe a border of whipped cream around the top of the cake. Arrange the cream puffs, evenly spaced, on top of the filling, next to the cream.
Option: Before filling the cake, take care of the cream puffs, dip them in more caramel, hook them up to the base. Fill with the cream filling and fill the holes with the whipped cream.