Helen of Tartalette and Anita of DessertFirst are hosting this month's challenge. They've chosen Gateau St. Honore for this month. I was pretty dumbfounded when I knew about it . I haven't tackled french patisserie before because I have this notion that it's pretty tricky and hard (not to mention hard to pronounce). At least it was consoling enough that they did not choose macaroons or else I know I will fail it miserably.
In these challenge we were given the option to choose whether to use store bought puff pastry or to make one from scratch. I chose to use a pre-made puff pastry since obviously I still don't have the power to engage myself in anything time consuming and complicated . My energy level is not 100% back yet. As for the cream puff dough, it was pretty easy since it was very similar to churros which I've already done a couple of times. For Saint Honore Cream, instead of using uncooked egg white I substituted it with powdered egg white. I'm just not comfortable using raw egg whites.I also omitted the rum and used vanilla instead. My only complain - it was pretty tiring stirring it and the weather here in Singapore made it worse since it was pretty hot. I still have dizzy spells every now and then so I did a lot of rest in between. It took me the whole day to finish everything. I did the cream in the morning. I did the cream puffs in the early afternoon. I assembled everything an hour before dinner time.
As for problems encountered, I'd like to mention that my puff pastry didn't puff out . I was disappointed about that. I also didn't know how big the cream puffs should be. I was also afraid of burning my fingers in hot caramel so instead of dipping my cream puffs, I decided to slowly pour the caramel on top of it. I think it would have been nice if I've cooked the caramel a bit longer to achieve a darker colour but then again I was afraid of burning it so I let it be. The most important thing I've learned from this challenge was making spun sugar. Although I did get a lot of laughs from my boys when they saw me making it (they said I looked like a witch) I can honestly say I did have a lot of fun making it. In fact, I couldn't make myself stop that my spun sugar came out thick and tall. At least now I know. I have more confidence trying it next time.
Over all the gateau came out really delicious. I liberally filled the gateau with the St. Honore cream and topped it with whipped cream. The whole family liked it at lot. Even though it created quite a mess in my kitchen, the experience was well worth it. Thanks Helen and Anita.
You can also check out how my fellow Daring Bakers fair out in the challenge by checking out their sites. You can view the list of the daring Bakers in my side bar. Enjoy!