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Gateau Saint-Honore

1 pound all-purpose flour, plus more
2 cups chilled unsalted butter, cut very small
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten

7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
7 large eggs

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons corn syrup

4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Weigh the flour accurately. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted
with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add 1/2
cup flour; mix until smooth. Scrape this butter mixture onto a
piece of waxed paper. Form into a 5-inch square, wrap; transfer
to the refrigerator until chilled. Place remaining flour in mixer
bowl; add 1 cup water and salt.

Mix carefully into a smooth dough, being careful not to overmix.
Gather dough into a ball, and wrap in plastic. Chill a few minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 6-by-12-inch
rectangle. Place the chilled butter square in the center of the
rectangle. Fold over the dough, completely encasing the butter.
Press the edges of the dough together, sealing as well as possible.
Transfer to a sheet of waxed paper; chill until dough and butter
reach same temperature. On a lightly floured surface, roll out
dough into a 3/8-inch-thick rectangle. Fold into thirds, like a
letter, and roll into another 3/8-inch-thick rectangle. Transfer
dough to waxed paper, and chill 1 hour. (Try to use as little
flour as possible for the rolling, and brush off any excess before
folding dough.) Repeat rolling-and-folding process two more times;
chill 1 hour.

Roll and fold two more times. When you fold the dough for the
sixth time, the dough should be extremely smooth and silky, with
no lumps of butter visible. (If the dough becomes too elastic,
set aside in a cool place 15 to 20 minutes before rolling.) Divide
dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate one
half for the Gateau Saint-Honore, and freeze the other half for
later use.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Heat the oven
to 375 degrees.

Combine the butter and 1 cup water in a small saucepan, and set
over high heat. Bring to a boil, and immediately add the flour
and salt. Beat continuously with a wooden spoon until the dough
comes away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the mixture to the
bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, add the
eggs, one at a time. Set aside 1-1/2 cups dough for assembling
the cake.

Place remaining mixture in a pastry bag fitted with an Ateco #9824
tip. Pipe 1-inch balls, spaced 1-1/2 inches apart, on the prepared
baking sheet. Bake balls until dark-golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Set 18 balls aside; freeze remaining balls in an airtight container
for another use. Using a small paring knife, make a small hole in
the bottom of each ball. Set aside.

Combine the milk, heavy cream, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan.
Set pan over medium heat, and scald the milk mixture. Remove the
pan from heat, cover, and let mixture steep 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove and discard the vanilla bean In a small bowl, whisk together
the egg yolks and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the flour, and continue whisking egg mixture until smooth.
Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk this
new mixture until it is completely smooth and completely free of
lumps. Return new mixture to pan, and place over medium heat.
Bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly; cook 2 minutes more.
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl. Lay a piece of plastic wrap
directly on top of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.

Refrigerate until ready to use. Place half of the pastry cream in
a pastry bag fitted with an Ateco #6 round tip; reserve the remaining
pastry cream for assembling the cake.

Pipe pastry cream into each of the 18 reserved balls. Set the
filled cream puffs aside until you are ready to dip them in the
caramel.

Prepare an ice-water bath, and line a baking pan with parchment;
set both aside. Combine the sugar, 1/4 cup water, and corn syrup
in a small saucepan. Set over high heat, and bring to a boil.
Swirl the pan occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Continue
cooking until the syrup is golden-amber. Remove pan from heat,
and plunge bottom of pan in the ice bath to stop cooking. Dip the
top of each of the 18 filled cream puffs in the molten caramel.
Place the balls, top-sides down, on the prepared baking sheet; the
caramel will harden and flatten, and this surface will become the
top of the cake.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a clean work surface. Using
a small offset spatula, place a small amount of molten caramel on
the parchment. Starting from the center, draw out the caramel in
a few quick strokes, creating a fan. Repeat making more fans with
the remaining caramel. Set fans aside to harden and dry. Remove
from the parchment, and use for garnish.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,
combine the heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla. Beat
on high speed until the mixture forms stiff peaks, 2 to 3 minutes.
Chill until ready to use.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment
paper, and set aside.

Roll the dough out to an 1/8-inch thickness. Using a plate or a
bowl as a guide, cut out two 8-inch circles from the dough. Prick
the circles all over with a fork or a pastry docker to prevent the
dough from rising. Place the circles on the prepared baking sheets.
Brush the outer edge of the circles with the beaten egg. Place
the reserved pate a choux dough in a pastry bag fitted with an
Ateco #9824 tip. Pipe dough around the rim of each circle. With
remaining dough, pipe a spiral in the center of each circle, starting
in the middle.

Bake until the pastry is crisp and deep-golden brown, 50 to 55
minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a rack to cool. Dip uncoated
sides of cream puffs, one by one, in the caramel. Arrange 9 per
circle, leaving space in between; the caramel will hold the cream
puffs to the pastry. Combine the remaining pastry cream and
one-fourth of the creme chantilly in a bowl. Place the mixed cream
in a pastry bag fitted with an Ateco #9824 tip. Fill the center
of each circle with cream mixture. Place the remaining creme
chantilly in a pastry bag fitted with an Ateco #9824 tip. Pipe
large rosettes between the caramel-covered cream puffs. Cover the
center of each circle with the remaining cream. Garnish with
caramel fans, and serve.

Makes two 8-inch cakes.

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