Following last month’s disaster of a crepe cake, chosen by yours truly, I think some of the Daring Bakers were expecting a simpler recipe this month. Ha! Not with Helen having the honour of choosing the May recipe. This is the same woman who barely batted an eyelash at my crepe cake and who routinely produces masterpieces in pastry decorated with spectacular sugar art. I knew Helen would have quite the challenge for us indeed. Then I found out that Helen had chosen to take on Anita as her co-host. Anita also has a way with all things intricate and mouth wateringly beautiful. When the two of them teamed up I knew that the crepe cake would be nothing compared to whatever they chose for us. I wasn’t disappointed. Helen and Anita decided that we would all be making our own puff pastry. Not daring enough? We’d also be making chiboust cream. Still not daring enough? Add cream puff making to that list. You want more? Top that with a caramel creation. When you put all of that together you end up with a Gateau St Honoré and a little piece of
Had you have challenged me to make the Gateau St Honoré a year ago I think I would have hidden in a corner. But since that time I’ve conquered croissants, and pasta making, hell, I can even make my own sausage and bacon! Macarons aside, I can make anything! And honestly, this cake wasn’t that difficult. It was a two days process that involved lots of steps, but when it was broken down, no single area was hard to complete. The end result really does look like it could come from a bakery. I was impressed, but then again, I was also impressed by the process of filling the cream puffs, call me a simpleton. Actually, I think filling the cream puffs was my favourite part of the whole operation. I took a syringe meant for injected meat with, (cleaned it) stuffed it full of chiboust cream and squirted it into the bottom of the cream puffs. I loved watching them become firm and plump as the chiboust cream pushed out the cream puff walls. Sometimes I got a little overzealous and chiboust cream would explode everywhere. That was the best part.
The other thing I enjoyed about this challenge was the leftovers! Don’t ever, EVER throw out extra chiboust cream, (especially if you flavour it with rum like I did, mmmm). I used mine as filling for mille feuille and macarons and there was still some leftover so I stuck it in the freezer. It didn’t stay there longer than a day because I ate it like ice cream and it was D-licious! Leftover puff pastry was excellent for making mille feuille and I still have a block of it in the freezer for another adventure. Believe it or not there were extra cream puffs too which are now hanging out with the puff pastry in the freezer as I recently found out they can be filled and then frozen with no ill effects. There would have been many more cream puffs in the freezer, but my mouth got in the way. They were just so easy to devour in one bite, I couldn’t help myself.
The only part of this challenge that may have caused a bit of cursing in my kitchen was the caramel. I’ve fought many battles with caramel and it has almost always won. This most recent battle ended in a tie. The first pot of caramel had to be thrown out. The second one, though still difficult to work with, produced the half decent results the you see before you. I have fellow Daring Bakers to thank for that too. Last month we were supposed to top our crepe cakes with caramel dipped hazelnuts. I chickened out and stuck strawberries on top. After reading all of the other bakers posts however, I learned a much more efficient way of making spun sugar that doesn’t involved coating your kitchen in sticky stuff. You simply open the dishwasher, tape some skewers to the top rack and wave your caramel over top. All of the excess falls into the dishwasher and when you’re finished you just close the door and turn it on. No mess! That’s smart thinking and I take no credit for it. I’m simply passing it along so that others can benefit from this gem of wisdom. Don't ever let the sugar get the best of you!
The recipe can be found in its entirety over at Tartelette and Dessert First where you will also find links to the other Daring Bakers’ creations, (you can also find all 48 of them in my sidebar, in the Daring Bakers drop down menu). Many thanks to Helen and Anita for their wonderful selection, I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge.