Saint Honoré

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Written by Ben

Saint Honore cake is made of choux, puff pastry, “diplomate” cream -pastry cream and merringue-, and chantilly.
Even if the big version looks intimidating, it is very “light” in term of sensation thanks to the puff pastry on the bottom and all those airy creams.
The caramel topping on the choux adds some welcomed crunch.

If you already ate some good ones, you probably guess why it became a classic in pastry, because it is very delectable -thought of my wife-! And maybe because it is an assemblage of french pastry stuffs.
I used to eat some -a lot in fact- at Laduree when I was living in Paris.
If I remember well, there were fruity raspberries, rose flavored cream and a raspberry jam. It was very “Marie Antoinette” style of pastry, mainly with those rose petals and sugar pearls.

I followed the Olivier Bajard’s recipe book to make it and the Conticcini recipe to make the choux because my wife had a very good result with it.

To make a saint honore, you have to do:
-some puff pastry 
-some choux with their craquelin to make them evenly rounded
-some pastry cream with some of the chantilly mascarpone for the diplomate cream
-some chantilly mascarpone
-some caramel for the decoration and to glue the choux on the puff pastry-choux ring.

Here is a recipe in french of this saint honore.

       craquelin : 40g butter, 50g blond sugar, 50g flour, 1 pinch of salt. Mix together all the dry ingredient and mix the butter with. Spread out the dough in a thickness of about 3 mm  in between 2 parchment paper or Silpat. Put the rolled out dough in the frigde. Cut some circles with the back of a pastry bag tip in a diameter of about 2-3 cm, depending of the width of your choux.
       Choux : 125g water, 2g salt, 2g sugar, 60g butter, 80g flour T45 -cookie flour, not bread flour-, 125g egg -max-, optional: a drop of milk if after adding all the egg, the batter is still dry. Pre-heat your oven at 180 C -some recipe says to bake at 200-220 C and lower at 180 C after 10min. Try it at your own risk ^^-. Bring to a boil in a saucepan water, salt and sugar with the butter cut in dice. Off the heat, add the sifted flour in one time. Use a wooden spoon and mix. When everything is well incorporated, put it back on the fire and mix the batter to dry it out, around one or 2 minutes. You will see a film forming on the bottom of the saucepan. Out of the fire, continue to stir the batter so the steam continue to escape. Add the beaten eggs one at a time and mix till you have a smooth batter. You should be able to make a ribbon or if you make a furrow in the batter with your finger, it should close on itself slowly. If the batter is too runny, you have to make it again from the beginning, so it is wiser to not add all the eggs in one time.
Insert a 8-10 mm tip in a pastry bag and fill it with the choux batter.
Pipe the choux on a pan. I heard some people doesn’t use any parchment paper or silpat so it conduct the heat better but I put a silpat and everything turned fine…
Bake them for about 20 mins if they are small. If you have just a few like 20 on your pan, stay in front of your oven because it might be baked after 12 mins.

-Puff pastry: look at the link above that redirects you to the “galette des rois” page.
prick the puff pastry with a fork and pipe a ring on it with the choux batter, at 5mm from the edge of the puff pastry. Bake it for about 25 min at 180 C.

-Chantilly mascarpone: 50cl heavy cream, 1 vanilla pod, 5g gelatin sheet put in cold water, mascarpone 250g, powdered sugar 85g. Grate the vanilla and put in 85g of cream, bring this cream to a boil. Put the strained gelatin in the saucepan and mix. Mix the remaining 415g of cream with the mascarpone. Add the boiled cream and let it cool for one night in the fridge. The day later, whisk the cream to make a chantilly. Whisk it at the last minute because the lifespan of a chantilly is kind of short.

-Diplomate cream: 50cl milk, 1 vanilla pod, 100g egg yolk, 120g sugar, 50g cornstarch, 40g butter, 2g gelatin sheet put in cold water, Chantilly mascarpone 200g. Grate the vanilla and put in the milk, heat the milk and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, mix egg yolk, sugar and cornstarch till pale and fluffy. pour half of the milk on the egg yolk mixture and whisk quickly to not have cooked egg crumbles. Put everything in the saucepan that contains the milk and put it back on the fire. Stir constantly till you get a creamy result. At this time, the starch and the egg yolk cooked and make the mixture thick. Add the butter and the strained gelatin in and mix. Set aside in the fridge. After one night, take it out from the fridge and make it smooth with a spatula. Fold gently 200g of chantilly mascarpone with the pastry cream. Put it in a pastry bag with a small tip.

-caramel: glucose syrup 100g, sugar 500g. Heat everything in a saucepan. You can mix a little bit with a heat resistant spatula or wooden spoon. Stop the cooking when its color turns blond, around 165 C. Stop the caramel cooking by putting the saucepan bottom in cold water. I made my caramel in 2 times. 4/5 of the quantity to make the choux decoration and  the remaining 1/5 to glue the choux on the puff pastry-choux ring base.

-Assembling: Fill the choux with the diplomate cream. You can use a special tip or a 8-10 mm one. Make a hole before in the choux. They are filled when it is overflowing and when you see them puffing a little bit under the cream pressure.
Just after making the caramel, glaze them in the caramel and put them head tilted on Silpat or parchment paper. When the glazing is sat, glue them on the puff pastry-choux ring with a new batch of caramel if yours is already too hard to work with. Use a mousse circle at the right size and put the choux against it to help them to stay in place while the caramel is hardening.
Spread out the diplomate cream in the middle.
Pipe like you want or can the remaining chantilly on the diplomate cream.

My recommendations are:
-Take your time to make your puff pastry and respect the resting times between the turns or your puff pastry will shrink and it will be just terrible.
-Try to pipe the choux at the same size and take your time to pipe the choux ring on the puff pastry to make it super even. If you look at professional Saint-honore, even this choux ring looks not perfectly even, so it might be ok if you aren’t a little fascist of the perfection. I wonder if some craquelin on top of it would have help…
-Don’t hesitate to bake your puff pastry and choux well to dry them.
-Work fast with the caramel. If you don’t have small rounded molds to put the caramel in in order to get a nice rounded coating on the choux, you can dip the choux in the caramel and put them in some parchment paper or Silpat head tilted. You don’t need to stop the caramel cooking for the one you use to glue the choux on the puff pastry-choux ring base.
-Make a hole on the side of the choux to fill them. If you make a hole on the bottom, it will work but it might liquefy a little bit the cream in contact of the burning caramel.
-I made a 30 beaume syrup to coat the puff pastry so it doesn’t turn soaked by the cream.
-If you don’t feel comfortable making decoration with the Saint-Honore tip, you can make extra whipped cream and train on a plate or make simpler decoration, like just some puffy dots or stars.

stHonore_march_2016 (1 of 9)
They are lightly brown and look crunchy.Open one and check if it is dry enough  inside.
stHonore_march_2016 (2 of 9)
There are small, like between 2 and 3 cm of diameter

2 thoughts on “Saint Honoré

  1. This looks fantastic– I made a Gateau St. Honore a while ago, but my choux puffs weren’t anywhere near as regular and round as yours were. I think I may need to tweak my recipe to make the dough looser, so it forms a more even shape. Great work!


    1. Hi Tanya, thanks for your comment! The St. Honoré is a magnificent classic, and I discovered this the moment I tasted it. I love how the puff pastry is a little savory with the whipped cream and there is a sweetness and crunch with the caramel. I think our choux are regular because we pipe them all the same size and then put cookie dough (craquelin) on top of them, so they are nice and round on top. If you don’t use the craquelin, you can use a fork to press the tops down a little (in the same way we score peanut butter cookies in the US, except don’t make them flat) so that they rise more regularily. That’s what they show on French cooking sites like in their choux recipes. Thanks again! – Rae


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