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GATEAU SAINT HONORÉ

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I do love indulging in a bit of history and heritage when it comes to food, which is one of my favourite things about French cooking. There’s just so much of it! The Gateau St Honoré originated in 1847 – a very exciting century in French cuisine on the whole where many of the most famous and timeless dishes were invented – and was named after the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs, St Honoratus, Bishop of Amiens. This is classic French pastry fare; a crispy-crunchy base topped with a light Chantilly cream, and decorated with a ring of choux puffs with an indulgent centre. Filling them with a white chocolate and almond butter ganache is this gateau’s pièce de résistance, in my opinion!

GATEAU SAINT HONORÉ

TIME: ganache, overnight + 3 hours | SERVES: 6 – 8

INGREDIENTS

for the base

1 x 400 g puff pastry

30 ml icing sugar

for the choux puffs

125 ml milk

125 ml water

2 ml salt

1 ml sugar

110 g (120 ml) butter

140 g (250 ml) cake flour

3 extra large eggs

for the ganache

250 ml cream

75 g almond butter

115 g white chocolate, roughly chopped

for the Chantilly cream

300 ml cream

40 ml icing sugar

for the caramel

200 g (250 ml) sugar

METHOD

for the ganache

Place the cream and almond butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and mix well. Heat until just boiling. Place the chocolate in a separate bowl and pour the hot cream mixture over it. Give it a gentle stir until the chocolate is melted. Leave to cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge overnight.

for the base

Heat the oven to 180 °C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the pastry on the baking tray and place another piece of baking paper on top of the pastry. Place another baking tray directly on top of the pastry and pop in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out and remove the baking tray and baking paper. Place a bowl on top of the pastry and cut out a circle. Place the baking paper directly on the pastry circle covered with a baking tray and put back in the oven for 30 minutes. Take out and dust the icing sugar on top of the pastry. Place back in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out and let it cool.

for the choux puffs

Heat the oven to 180 °C. Place the milk, water, salt and sugar in a saucepan, bring to the boil and add the flour. Stir until the flour is completely incorporated. Keep stirring gently for 1 minute to cook the flour. Remove from the heat.

Add the eggs one by one and mix thoroughly until the egg is well mixed. Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. This mixture might be too much for the tart, but you can keep the puffs in an airtight container and fill them with Chantilly cream for a mini croquembouche. Pipe the puffs (about 3 cm in diameter) onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Flatten the pointy tip with your finger and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and crispy. Take out and let them cool.

 

Take the ganache out of the fridge. Using an electric hand beater, whip the ganache until thick. Fill enough puffs with some of the ganache. Place the pastry base on your serving plate and spread the rest of the ganache on top.

for the Chantilly cream

Place the cream in a mixing bowl and beat until stiff. Add the icing sugar and mix well. Place the cream in a piping bag fitted with a Saint Honoré nozzle – you can also use any nozzle you desire. Pipe the cream on top of the pastry.

for the caramel

Place the sugar in a nonstick saucepan. Place on a low heat and do not stir. You can give the pan a shake every now and then but leave until melted and caramelised. Carefully dip the puffs in the caramel and leave to cool.

Place the puffs on top of the piped cream and garnish with edible gold leaf.

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