I watched a wonderful, French foodie movie for the second time recently, Haute Cuisine. It’s about President François Mitterrand’s personal chef, Danièle Mazet-Delpeuch, whom he hand-picked to create meals for himself and those closest to him. What a dream job.

In this movie several dishes feature prominently, including a choux farci au saumon (cabbage stuffed with salmon)….

This shot is from the movie.

…and, of course, the Saint-Honoré.

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Élysée Palace, where the movie is set, is on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Saint Honoré is also the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs.

I’ve seen recipes that incorporate pastry creme or chocolate ganache, but I’m using a traditional recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Tarts and Pastries, by Le Cordon Bleu. This version has four main components: sweet pastry, cream-puff pastry, Chantilly cream and caramel.

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Sweet Pastry base: (you’ll need only half of this quantity; you can refrigerate the other half and save for making a tart later)

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2-3 drops vanilla extract

Sift together flour and salt in a large bowl.

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Cut the butter into 1/2″ cubes and rub into the flour until a course texture forms. Stir in the sugar and make a well for the combined egg and vanilla.

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Work dough together with a fork. Sprinkle with water to help with cohesion. Transfer the dough onto a work surface and knead gently until smooth.

DSC_0131_3261 copyDSC_0132_3262 copyWrap the ball of dough in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.

Cream-Puff Pastry (or pâte à choux):

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 eggs

Sift the flour onto a sheet of waxed paper.  Put 1/2 cup of water, the butter, salt and sugar into a small, heavy sauce pan. Heat until boiling. Remove from the heat and add all the flour at once. Stir well with a wooden spoon until the pastry comes away from the sides.

DSC_0133_3263 copyPut the dough in a bowl or mixer and add the beaten eggs a little at a time. Continue to mix until the pastry is thick and glossy. Set aside.

DSC_0135_3271 copyDSC_0138_3268 copyPreheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush two baking sheets with melted butter and chill.

Roll the sweet pastry dough out to an 8″ circle about 1/8″ thick to form the base. Transfer to a baking sheet. Prick with a fork and brush with the beaten egg.

DSC_0141_3265 copyPipe a ring of cream puff pastry around the edge of the base with a 1/2″ nozzle.

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Pipe a second ring inside the first.

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Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden.

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On the second baking sheet, pipe the puff-pastry into walnut-sized balls. Brush with beaten egg and smooth so they are uniform.

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Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

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While these are cooling, put 1 cup of sugar in a heavy saucepan with 1/4 cup water and heat until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to boiling and reduce the sugar mix, stirring constantly. Simmer until the sugar is a golden caramel color. Remove from heat.

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Working very quickly, dip half each ball in the caramel and set aside to cool. You may need to reheat the caramel during this process. Dip a second time to cover the other half of each ball and place directly on the base rings. Try not to burn your fingers.

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Chantilly cream:

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Whip the cream in a chilled metal bowl until soft peaks form. Begin incorporating sugar and continue to whip, adding vanilla. Do not over whip.

Pipe the cream onto the base with a star nozzle. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

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This dessert should serve six very happy people. Serve with a strong coffee. Enjoy!

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