Gâteau Saint-Honoré

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

The crème Chiboust, formed when the crème pâtissière and Italian meringue are combined, is based on Michel Roux's version.

  • 200 gm white sugar
  •  
  • Damien’s rough puff pastry
  • 250 gm (1 2/3 cups) plain flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 250 gm unsalted butter, diced in 2 cm pieces, chilled very well
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, strained
  •  
  • Choux pastry
  • 150 ml milk
  • 120 gm unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into small dice
  • 150 gm (1 cup) plain flour, sifted onto a sheet of baking paper
  • 4 eggs (60gm each), lightly beaten, plus 1 extra lightly beaten with a pinch of salt, for eggwash
  •  
  • Crème pâtissière
  • 175 ml milk
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 60 gm raw caster sugar
  • 15 gm custard powder
  • gold-strength gelatine leaves, softened in cold water for 5 minutes
  •  
  • Italian meringue
  • 200 gm white sugar
  • 15 gm liquid glucose
  • 3 eggwhites
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
01   For rough puff pastry, sieve flour and ½ tsp salt into the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and mix on lowest speed to just coat butter with flour. Add 125ml iced water and lemon juice and mix to just combine – it should look a bit messy with chunks of butter still visible in a slightly sticky paste.
02   Turn dough out onto a work surface and, using hands and a rolling pin, pat and roll into a rough 12cm x 30cm rectangle. With the shortest side facing you, fold the top third down, then the bottom third up to form 3 layers. Slide onto a tray, cover with a clean tea towel, then slip into a plastic bag and chill for 20 minutes.
03   Stand pastry at room temperature to soften slightly (about 10 minutes), then slide onto a lightly floured work surface with the wider side facing you – this is the first 90-degree turn, which means you will roll in the opposite direction with each turn. Patting and rolling with the rolling pin, roll to a rough 12cm x 30cm rectangle. If the pastry starts to stick, roll it up with the rolling pin or if the pastry is too fragile, use a long steel spatula or knife to loosen it from the board, then dust with flour and continue to extend the pastry. With the shortest side facing you, fold the top third down, then the bottom third up to cover, transfer to a tray, cover with a tea towel and plastic bag and refrigerate to rest (20 minutes). Give the pastry 2 more turns, re-wrap and chill for 20 minutes, then repeat. The pastry should look smooth and slightly smeared with butter here and there, though it shouldn’t have broken through. Wrap again and chill for 20 minutes.
04   Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 4mm, then cut out a 24cm-diameter round with a sharp knife in a straight downward movement. Brush off any excess flour and place upside-down on a baking tray and use a fork to prick the base all over, leaving a 2cm border (this helps to inhibit rising). Cover with a tea towel and plastic bag, then freeze until firm (20-30 minutes or for up to a day before baking). Preheat oven to 210C. Bake pastry until it has risen slightly (8-10 minutes), then reduce oven to 160C and bake until nicely golden (20-25 minutes). Reduce oven to 120C and bake for 5 minutes to dry out. Cool on a wire rack.
05   For choux pastry, preheat oven to 210C. Bring milk, butter, 150ml water and ½ tsp salt to the boil in a saucepan over low-medium heat, then remove from heat and add flour in one lot while beating thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Return to a low heat and beat slowly until the dough forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan (3-4 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and press a plastic freezer bag or a sheet of Go-Between onto the surface and stand for 5 minutes.
06   Gradually beat in the eggs, beating well between each addition. When most of the eggs have been incorporated, test the texture by holding the spoon above the dough and watching how it falls – a wide thread should slowly fall off the spoon and the dough should look smooth and shiny. Add remaining egg as necessary (you may not need all of it).
07   Place a 1.5cm plain nozzle into a piping bag, then twist the bag above the nozzle (this prevents the mixture oozing out), fill with the dough and hold a paring knife in your other hand. Release the twist and pipe small balls of 2cm-3cm diameter and 2cm high onto the tray, swiping the tip of the nozzle with the knife to finish each ball and leaving about 3cm between each. You’ll need 10-12 balls; freeze the remainder after baking for another use. Brush the balls with eggwash (try not to get eggwash on the tray – this may stop the choux rising) and bake until dark golden (6-7 minutes). Reduce oven to 170C and bake until dried out (5 minutes). Set aside to cool.
08   For crème pâtissière, bring milk, vanilla bean and seeds to the boil in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl to combine well, then whisk in custard powder. Whisking continuously, add hot milk, then return to pan and whisk over medium heat until thickened (2-3 minutes). Reduce heat to low and beat until thick (1-2 minutes), then remove from heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to crème pâtissière and whisk to combine, Transfer to a bowl, cover closely with plastic wrap, keep warm.
09   For Italian meringue, dissolve sugar with 50ml water in a small saucepan over low heat, bring to the boil and cook, brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush if sugar crystals appear, until mixture reaches 110C (2-3 minutes; as the amount is small you may need to tilt the pan to see the temperature). At this point start whisking the eggwhite on low speed until foamy, then add cream of tartar and a tiny pinch of salt. Increase speed to medium and whisk until creamy yet stiff (4-5 minutes). Continue cooking syrup until it reaches 121C. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly pour syrup into eggwhite mixture, avoiding the sides of the bowl and the whisk, then whisk until cooled to room temperature (10-15 minutes).
10   To make the crème Chiboust, fold a third of the Italian meringue into the crème pâtissière to lighten, then fold in remainder, being careful not to overwork or mixture will collapse. Cover and refrigerate for no more than 1 hour.
11   Stir sugar and 50ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil and cook, brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush if sugar crystals appear, until mixture turns light golden and reaches 160C on a sugar thermometer (6-8 minutes). Reduce heat to low and cook until mixture reaches 170C. Remove from heat and carefully dip the rounded top of each choux puff (the ideal tool for this is the fine tine of a carving fork) into the caramel, then the flat base and place on the edge of the rough puff base to form a ring, then allow to set.
12   Prepare a piping bag with a 1.5cm-2cm piping nozzle as instructed in step 7. Fill the bag with the crème Chiboust, then fill the centre of the gâteau in a pattern as desired. Open the Champagne and enjoy this delicious masterpiece of French pâtisserie.

Topics:

PASTRY, DESSERT, BAKING, CHEFS' RECIPES, FRENCH

Recipe:

DAMIEN PIGNOLET

Photography:

WILLIAM MEPPEM

Styling:

EMMA KNOWLES

FEATURED IN

Oct 2014

Oct 2014

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