Saint-Honoré and the Gateaux Saint-Honoré - The St Honore Cake.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman


A Saint Honore Cake.
The origins of the Gateaux Saint-Honoré
The Gateaux Saint-Honoré, the St Honore cake, was created in 1847 by the pâtissier Auguste Jullien the head pastry chef in the patisserie of M. Chiboust on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris.  It is not too surprising that a cake was created in this street, after all it is named after Saint-Honoré the patron saint of bakers, pastry chefs, flour merchants, and confectioners.

The narrow but very important street of
 Faubourg Saint-Honoré
This narrow street may not be as impressive as the nearby Champs-Élysées, but it is home to many of France’s top fashion houses as well as the official residence of the British Ambassador to France, the United States Ambassador to France and the Élysée Palace the official residence of the President of the French Republic. If you came to Paris for Haute Couture this is one of the roads that will be on your shopping list.  Unfortunately, on my last visit, I did not find a single bakery producing its own products.

The Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré
What’s in the cake?

The cake is made with pâte feuilletée, a variation of the puff pastry used for millefeuilles. (Another form of pâte feuilletée pastry is pâte levee which is yeast based and used for croissants).   Also utilized in preparing this cake are various shapes made with pâte à choux which is filled with Crème Chiboust and covered with caramel.  N.B. Pâte à choux is the puff pastry used for éclairs and profiteroles etc. 

Another Saint Honore Cake.

The Crème Chiboust is a crème pâtissière made with milk, eggs, egg whites, flour, and sugar. It is usually flavored with vanilla and in my opinion best when whipped cream is included in the recipe. Crème Chiboust may have its flavor changed at the chef’s choosing, The Saint Honore cake will be on many restaurant menus around the 16th of May, the date of Saint-Honoré’s death in 600 CE along with celebrations of bread making.

St  Honore aux Fraises
A Saint Honore cake with strawberries.

Patron Saints.

Patron Saints and Saint’s Days have long been part of the Roman Catholic Church’s tradition and many of these Saint’s days have now become part of the secular culture.  Age-old traditions include St Honoré and St Valentine, (Valentine’s Day) along with many others.  Even in Israel New Year’s Day is called Sylvester after the  4th century Pope Sylvester who died on 31 December 335 CE.   The Jewish New Year does not follow the Gregorian (another saint) calendar and so the imported Sylvester is used for the celebrations on 31 December.
Preparing the final touches to a Saint Honore Cake

Where Saint Honore became a saint,
The City of Amiens, in the North of France, is the where St Honore was the Bishop and here he was martyred and according to Roman Catholic tradition became a saint.  Amiens is the departmental capital of the Somme in the region that was Picardie.  The Amiens Cathedral’s origins date back to1220, and it is considered the most impressive Cathedral in the whole of France; its is also, obviously, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Amiens’ Cathedral

The changes in the region of Picardie, Picardy.
Since 1-1-2015 Picardie together with the region, Nord-Pas-de-Calais became part of the new super region of Hauts-de-France.  On 1-1-2015 France reduced the number of mainland regions from 22 to 13. France’s regions are in certain matters similar to USA States, and UK Counties and the reduction in the number of regions is intended to reduce administrative costs and bureaucracy.  The name Hauts-de-France means the Heights of France and refers to the region’s importance and position in the North of France.

A Choc-Banana and Rum Gâteau St Honoré
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Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman

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