Following the Entremet Yuzu and Paris Brest, I was left with half a tray full of lemon marmalade and even more praline paste. I was also exhausted and hence determined to spend my weekend relaxing and doing nothing when my sister insisted that I had to bake something for her friend who's always wanted to taste something I make. Though annoyingly insistent, I love her so how could I possibly say no? Plus, she was really sweet to offer me help when she saw me working late on a Saturday night but I said it was fine only because I really don't trust her too much when she's in the kitchen. ☺
Especially when it comes to baking.
She does make some pretty mean risottos though.
Initially my sister's friend wanted a mille feuille, something I've been dying to make as well. However, I could not get my hands on some good croissant butter.
// To anyone in Singapore who's reading this, it would be real nice if someone could supply imported pastry ingredients from France/Europe in SMALL QUANTITIES. Gosh I don't need 15kg of croissant butter or 3kg of chocolate. Home deliveries would be real nice too. //
My sister's friend, D, also loves flavours that are rich and sweet. But I wasn't only doing it for her but for my sister herself (who's really picky and has concluded she only likes elements of acidity, she disliked Entremet Yuzu quite a fair bit), her boyfriend as well as her other friends. So I figured I'd go for a more balanced approach. Using the last remaining sheet of puff pastry I made about a month or so back (don't worry I froze it) for my Palmiers, the lemon marmalade from the Yuzu cake and the last bit of praline paste, these little darling St. Honorés were born. Incorporating puff pastry that normally would be for the mille feuille I thought this would impress quite similarly, if not more because it really is much more technically challenging.
What a way to clear my pantry and use up old scrapes of whatever I have in the freezer.
This has 8 components:
(crazy ain't it? such a small pastry but yet so complex)
1. pâte à choux
2. cracking caramel
3. lemon chantilly
4. praliné mousseline cream
5. crunchy liquid praliné
6. lemon marmalade
7. puff pastry
8. candied lemon peel + feuille d'or (gold leaf)
Making this was rather smooth except for the lemon cream and when it came to the baking of the puff pastry because I've never done it before but it worked out anyway. The cream though, kept becoming yoghurt whenever I added a lemon reduction. I was so puzzled because I thought it would be less concentrated compared to lemon juice. So I just had to ask J who always has answer to all my pastry related qualms and queries. Turns out a reduction has some sort of weird reaction with fat so it causes it to seize up and apparently, all I had to do was just add sugar and real lemon juice. (doh! And clearly that's why he's my sous chef.)
I did not create this dessert in case you all think I did. It was inspired by the Le Meurice in Paris. The hotel I used to work at, or rather Chef Maxime, created a new range of St. Honorés and he dressed them this way. I was completely smitten and so far, I just can't find a prettier looking St. Honoré that I just had to dress mine like this too. Piping the flower of cream using the St. Honoré tip is no easy feat but I've been practising ever since I started to learn how to make them in Paris. Chef Maxime does them the best, they're perfect every single time and he really is my other inspiration aside from J and my head chef, Chef Cédric Grolet. I hope they don't kill me for re-creating this and putting it on my blog... gros bisous mes chefs hehe ♥
I piped these pretty terribly that day. It has been almost 7 months since I last did it and I am rusty as hell. If only I had the opportunity to pipe it everyday again but it's rather troublesome making it from scratch and from home. This I felt was textural and beautiful balanced in flavours. It was crunchy from the caramel and liquid praliné in the centre. Sweetness and richness came from the hazelnut cream in the centre and filled in every small round choux, and acidity from the lemon cream and marmalade.
Here's the little visual breakdown for you.
Best part is that they all loved it! I don't know about my sister but I think this could potentially be one of her favourites out of everything I've ever made so far. This is a hard family to feed. Tough crowd. But then everyone did love this St. Honoré.
I'm glad I finally pleased them a little. My job for the weekend is done!