After failing miserably at the crepe cake last month, I knew that I’d have to buckle down and prove myself this month as a Daring Baker rather than a pathetic baker, no matter how many screw-ups and no matter how many retries it took. And believe me, there were screw-ups. Lots of them. Starting with the $10 box of puff pastry that we absolutely ruined beyond repair when we first attempted this recipe on Thursday. And then the fact we had the wrong tips (decorators instead of pastry) and had to make a very expensive trip to Sur La Table (because I had to get the mechanical gun instead of more bags, and lots of other things as I always do when I go to Sur La Table – other women buy shoes, I buy cookware and kitchen gadgets), ending with gross looking pate a choux (clumpy) that we had to do over again. Excuse the crappy picture, by the time I got done it was night time and had to settle for the crappy indoor light and flash in my kitchen rather than outside, where I WANTED to photograph it.
Our Daring Bakers project this month was a Gateau St. Honore, a cake in honor of the patron saint of bakers. It’s one that is often used in pastry school finals because it encompasses many of the basic methods – pate a choux, puff pastry, diplomat creme, caramel, etc. And because of the complexity of the recipe (I get nervous with multi-step recipes, it’s one reason I’d never be a professional chef of any kind), I was feeling out of my league before I even began. But I definitely was determined to make a go of it, no matter how it ended up turning out. So how did it turn out? Let’s just say I’m happy with the results. I didn’t even screw up the caramel this time. It took 2 tries with the pate a choux, but it all came out in the end. And thank God that she let us used store-bought puff pastry, because I’m definitely not ready for that yet (my poor arthritis couldn’t handle it). And I even got to incorporate some of the nummy strawberries I bought at the farmer’s market yesterday.
Be sure to check the other Daring Bakers on the sidebar for their rendition of this recipe. I’m almost afraid to see what’s in store for us next month, this one was definitely a challenge!