Cakes-CtoM 3: Gateau St. Honoré

2006-03-25

Gateau St. HonoréThe history of this cake is quite interesting, some saying it is named after the patron saint of bakers. After reading the description, I'm a little disappointed that what we made last night only vaguely resembles the original. Chef began by making up some choux paste using a standard recipe made with water. When it came off the stove, she cooled it down by stirring it on low in the mixer with a paddle. Using a plain #5 tip, she made small round balls. I ended up letting my partner make them as my initial attempts came out with little pointy hats.

Next, we made pastry cream (the traditional filling is crème Chiboust or crème St. Honoré which further lightens the pastry cream with meringue or whipped cream). When that was done, we spread it on a sheet lined with plastic to cool it, then scraped it into a bowl. We made profiteroles by filling the choux balls with the cream.

Most recipes call for a short crust as the base of gateau St. Honoré. For our version, the last task was to roll out the puff dough into a 1/8" thickness as our instructor warned that we did not want very much lift for this dessert. Using a metal roller docker, we pricked holes all over the dough, then cut them into 9" circles. Before putting the trays in the oven, we covered the dough rounds with parchment then weighted them with a metal rack or another sheet pan.

Gateau St. Honoré (2)For assembly, we squished and trimmed the puff pastry circles then spread them with pastry cream and sliced strawberries. After placing the final layer of puff on top, we masked the whole thing with whipped topping. We brushed the strawberry garnish on top with some heated apricot jam, then arranged the profiteroles in a circle on top and on the side.

I served this at a dinner party three days after we made it so the pastry wasn't crisp anymore, and the profiteroles became a little soggy. The proportion of pastry to cream isn't to my liking: there needs to be more of the latter. More strawberries would have been nice too. However, all my dinner guests thought it was quite delicious.

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