Today is the 16th May and something I was reading recently drew my attention to the fact that this means it is St. Honoré Day.
Almost every day in the French calendar has a saint allocated to it. Some days even have more than one.
You might be wondering what is so special about St Honoré? In a nutshell (mixed metaphor alert!) he is the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. He was born in Amiens, N France, where he later became Bishop in the 6th Century.
After St Honoré died, processions were held in his honour and, according to legend, water shortages and floods ceased. This resulted in excellent wheat crops and henceforth he became the ‘favourite’ of all bakers!
In the 17th century, he was made the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. In pictures, he is often seen with a baker’s peel (a flat, shovel-like tool used by bakers to slide loaves of bread, pastries etc in and out of an oven) and loaves of bread.
You may have heard of a ‘Gâteau St Honoré’. This is most likely if you are a fan of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, as it was a featured showstopper bake in one of the series! This cake was invented, in Paris, in the 19th century. It is a ring shaped pastry which is filled with Chiboust cream (crème pâtissière and Italian meringue) and topped with small cream puffs glazed with caramel. To finish more whipped cream is used to decorate.
Ugh! I’m sorry but this is not my kind of cake. It is far too sweet and I don’t like cream. Although I do appreciate that it’s a special occasion cake and takes a lot of skill.
I’m more of a ‘tarte au citron’ person.
Have you ever tasted a ‘Gâteau St Honoré’ or even made one?
If you’re tempted – you’re a braver and more accomplished baker than I am – here’s a video that may inspire you.