Sunday, 5 August 2012

Saint Honoré Cake

He's unfortunately at a conference in DC at the moment.  Last year I made him a Saint Honoré, this year, though we celebrated his birthday early, there was no cake.  Poor guy's watching his cholesterol levels and waistline.  He purposefully bought a jacket that's a bit too small for him around the belly area, just to encourage himself to lose some weight (well, that and that the jacket was on sale).
Saint Honoré is the French saint of bakers and pastry chefs.  It has a puff pastry base with a ring of cream puffs on top and a center filled with a cream of creme patisserie plus egg white, I believe.  I first had it in an Italian restaurant in Hong Kong.  Oddly enough that's the best I've never had.  I've had it in Italy and I've had it in France, but the best one was in that Italian restaurant in Hong Kong.  You know what my problem with the Italian and French ones are?  The puff pastry layer underneath is too thin.  The one in HK was a thick millefoglie (I'm Italian, I don't like saying mille-feuille), whereas the other ones, you might say the proper ones, is just a thin layer of puff pastry.  It's not the same.
Take my recipe with a pinch of salt.  Adjust it to your liking.  I had it filled with hazelnut-creme patisserie, and the choux buns were filled with chocolate-hazelnut creme patisserie.  I dipped some of them in caramel and some in a chocolate ganache.  You don't have to go through all that trouble, you can just dip them in caramel or something.  Needless to say this takes a loooong time, but it's worth it for a special occasion!   AUGURI PAPA'!  :)

You'll have a lot of left over choux buns with this recipe.  Bake them and you can put them in the freezer.  Reheat in the oven for 5 minutes at 200C and they're ready for another indulgence.
Cream Puffs

100ml cold water
 50g butter, cubed
70g flour, well sifted
pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
2 medium eggs

Bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a boil.  As soon as it boils, take off the heat and add all the flour in at once.  Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps until it comes together as a dough.  Put back on low heat and stir for a couple of more minutes until the dough becomes drier and comes off the pot clean.  Leave the dough to the side to cool.  When the mixture is completely cooled, add one egg and stir until well incorporated.  It may not look like it will but it will.  Then do the same for the rest of the eggs, adding them one at a time.  Have the oven heated at 220C, pipe them into small balls. Use a wet finger tip to rub each ball for a crispier crust.  Bake for 10 minutes before turning heat down to 180 for 20 more minutes.

Hazelnut Creme Patisserie & Chocolate-Hazelnut Creme Patisserie

40g hazelnut
250ml milk
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
80g sugar
25g flour, sifted
2 tbsp cocoat

Put the hazelnuts in the oven at 180C for about 5 minutes until fragrant.  Put a towel over them and rub the skin off.  Put them in a food processor and whizz until finely ground.
Heat the milk with the ground hazelnuts  and vanilla until simmering, then turn off the heat and let it infuse for ten minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and foamy.  When the milk has cooled down, strain it, and whisk 1/3 of it into the egg mixture, then whisk in the flour.  Finally tip the mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk, and using a wooden spoon, stir continuously over medium-high heat until it boils.  Then turn the heat down to low and continue stirring until it becomes thick, about 10 minutes. Leave to cool.

Take out half the creme patisserie and mix in 2 tbsp of cocoa, or more, adjust to your liking.

Poke a hole into the bottom of the cream puffs, and using a piping bag, pipe the chocolate-hazelnut creme patisserie into them.

1-2 lb puff pastry (I don't remember exactly how much I needed, sorry!)
Hazelnut creme patisserie

Heat the oven to 200C.  Roll out the puff pastry to about the size of 1 pound coin, and cut out 3 circle using a large plate. Put each of them on a baking pan lined with parchment paper (you may need to bake them in different batches).  Pierce the dough all over with a fork.  Place another sheet of parchment paper on top, and place another baking pan on top to weigh it down as it bakes.  Bake them each for about 25 minutes or until golden.  You can remove the baking pan and parchment paper on top in the last five minutes to help color them.  Transfer the dough to a rack to cool.
Distribute 1/2 of the hazelnut creme patisserie over one layer of the puff pastry.  Place another layer on top, and spread the other half of the creme patisserie on top.  Place the third layer on top.

Vanilla Cream and Chocolate cream

1 cup double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoat

Combine all the ingredients and beat until stiff peaks form for the vanilla cream.

Take out half the vanilla cream and mix in 1 tbsp of cocoa for the chocolate cream.


1/2 cup sugar

Spread the sugar into an even layer on a pan and heat over medium-high heat until golden brown.  Do not stir.  You may swirl the pan around.  Dip some of the cream puffs into the caramel, try not to burn yourself, and put them upside down on a piece of parchment paper and leave to cool.

Chocolate Ganache

80g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/3 cup double cream

Bring the cream just to a boil, be careful as it might spill so keep a close eye to it.  Pour it into a bowl along with the chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted.  Dip some cream puffs into the chocolate ganache and place them upside down on a baking sheet and leave to cool.

Put the cream puffs around the edge of the millefoglie.  Pipe alternating layers of the vanilla and chocolate cream in the middle.  Sprinkle with some chopped chocolate and hazelnuts.

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