Word of Mouth: Gâteau St. Honoré

Gâteau St. Honoré (gah-toe saint on-or-ay), noun: Named for the patron saint of bakers, this is a confection with a pâte brisé (pie crust) base, a ring of pâte à choux on the outside with little pâte à choux puffs affixed to the outside with caramel, and then filled with pastry cream.

In other words, a baker's dream-come-true...or personal nightmare!

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This cake can be made as traditionally or as fancifully as you like. We particularly like versions that substitute puff pastry for the pie crust base. This gives the cake visual height and a nice airiness when you take a bite of it.

It's also fun to play around with the pastry cream. The traditional way is to simply lighten and sweeten the pastry cream with whipped egg whites and sugar. The few times that we've committed to making this cake for birthdays or parties, we've also added some sort of flavoring to the cream.

The cream in the picture above has pistachio paste added. Admittedly, the green wasn't so visually appealing, but darn it tasted good! Fresh fruit puree is another great choice, particular with a few whole berries nestled on top of the finished cake. You can also just go the simple route with some flavor extracts or a few tablespoons of liquor.

With three separate components to make and fuss over, this cake is definitely labor intensive. But the gasps of delight when you bring it to the table are worth every second.

Have you ever made one?

Recipes to Try:
Gâteau St. Honoré from Tartlette
Individual Gâteau St. Honoré from Dessert First
Traditional Gâteau St. Honoré from the Food Network

Related: Weekend Cooking: What's the Most Complicated Recipe You've Ever Made?

(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)

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