Every so often a pastry comes along that makes even the most jaded sweet-eater throw down his fork, stomp his foot and shout out loud:
my GOD that’s good. Gâteau St. Honoré is that pastry. Yes, you may think you know what it tastes like: cream puff dough, pastry cream, meringue and caramel. But I’m telling you friends, until you actually prepare and serve one of these you won’t understand the impact that all those components can have when they’re delivered together. The uninitiated are always, always stunned.
Gâteau St. Honoré can be made in lots of different ways. The foundation is usually made of puff pastry, short crust, pâte à choux or a combination thereof. Huh? A combination? Yup. The most typical combo is a base of puff pastry with a layer of choux on the top, which is what I’m going to do. I happen to have a large ball of puff pastry scraps in the freezer and they’ll be perfect for the job (since I want the richness but not necessarily all the height). A normal sheet of puff pastry will work great, too. You’ll just need to prick it (“dock” it) with a fork.