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Saint Honore Tart – Caramel, Vanilla and White Chocolate

I love making festive tarts, and one of the ways to do so is to think of a dessert you like and make a tart out of it. This is how this following tart was born.

It’s a Saint Honore inspired tart. Saint Honore is a classical French cake made of puff pastry crust, topped with cream puffs and lots of cream.

This is my interpretation for the popular dessert – a golden crust filled with almond caramel and white chocolate an coffee ganache, all topped with crunchy cream puffs filled with caramel mascarpone cream and whipped Chantilly cream on top.

Saint Honore Tart – Caramel, Vanilla and White Chocolate

Photo: Natalie Levin



Saint Honore Tart – Caramel, Vanilla and White Chocolate

24 cm round pie pan

For short crust pastry:
150 grams all-purpose flour
100 grams cold butter, cut into cubes
25 grams icing sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1-2 tbsp. cold milk (as needed)

For almond caramel:
150 grams sugar
250 ml. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. sea salt
25 grams butter
100 grams roasted almonds, coarsely chopped

White chocolate and coffee ganache:
1 t sp. Instant ground coffee
1 tbsp. boiling water
150 grams white chocolate
45 ml. heavy cream

For the crumble (for puffs):
50 grams flour
50 grams sugar
50 grams cold butter cut into cubes
Pinch of salt

For cream puffs:
125 ml. milk
2 grams sugar
1/8 tsp. fine salt
50 grams butter
75 grams all-purpose flour
2-3 large eggs

For caramel and mascarpone cream:
2 grams gelatin powder
10 ml. water
90 grams sugar
115 ml. heavy cream
Pinch of salt
60 grams soft butter
250 grams mascarpone cheese at room temperature

For vanilla Chantilly cream:
250 ml. heavy cream
25 grams sugar powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cream stabilizer of instant vanilla pudding mix

White chocolate and nuts discs:
50 grams white chocolate
Some caramelized hazelnuts bits

Preparation:

  1. Crust: in a food processor with a steel blade put flour, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and process until mixture is crumbly.
  2. Add egg yolk and continue to process just until large clumps of dough form. If the dough is not setting, gradually add a little milk.
  3. Transfer the dough chunks on a lightly floured work surface and form a disc-shape with your hands.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
  5. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface about 3-4 mm thick and line the pie pan. It is important to create a right angle between the sides and the base of the crust, which will ensure the edges remain high when baking.
  6. Using a fork create holes in the crust. Freeze the crust for about an hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 170c degrees.
  8. Blind baking: put a sheet of heat-resistant plastic wrap or baking paper on the frozen crust and fill with dry beans or special weights for baking.
  9. Bake for about 12-14 minutes.
  10. Remove the weights and the plastic wrap and continue to bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes or until it is golden brown.
  11. Cool completely at room temperature.
  12. Almond caramel: in a large skillet put sugar and form caramel.
  13. Meanwhile, heat cream and salt in a small saucepan to simmering point.
  14. When the caramel is amber and smooth, pour the cream and mix carefully.
  15. Cook over medium heat until smooth amber-colored caramel is formed.
  16. Add the butter and cook together, while stirring for another 1-2 minutes until melted and blended.
  17. Add and stir in almonds.
  18. Pour the caramel over the crust and flatten the top gently to create a thin layer.
  19. Cool in the refrigerator for an hour.
  20. White chocolate and coffee ganache: in a small glass mix coffee and boiling water until dissolved.
  21. Chop the chocolate and put in a bowl. Add heavy cream and solvents together in the microwave or over double-boiler until everything is melted and mixture is smooth.
  22. Add the coffee mixture and stir until mixture is smooth.
  23. Pour the ganache over the almond caramel and smooth the top. Cool in the refrigerator for an hour to set.
  24. Crumble (for cream puffs): in a food processor with a steel blade put flour, sugar, butter and salt and blend at high speed until the dough clumps .
  25. Transfer the dough to a work surface and form a disc shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
  26. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 3-4 mm thick and cut out 4 cm circles. Refrigerate.
  27. Cream puffs: preheat oven to 180c degrees.
  28. In a medium saucepan put milk, salt, sugar and butter and heat to a strong boil.
  29. Add flour and stir while cooking, until it turns into a lump of dough.
  30. Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until it cools down a little.
  31. Add the eggs gradually while beating until dough is elastic and smooth. Check the readiness of dough by creating a “trail” with a wooden spoon in the center of the dough – if the track remains stable, add some eggs, and if it closes a bit – the dough is ready. It is important not to add too many eggs to the dough or it may become too soft and ruined.
  32. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a round 2 cm piping tip. On a baking tray lined with baking paper pipe large cream puffs (about 3-4 cm in diameter). It’s important to leave some space between the creampuffs.
  33. Place a round disc of crumble over each creampuff and flatten a bit.
  34. Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the creampuffs are golden and set. Cool completely before filling.
  35. Make a small hole at the bottom of each creampuff.
  36. Caramel and mascarpone cream: in a small bowl mix gelatin and water and set aside for 10 minutes at room temperature to absorb the liquid.
  37. In a large skillet put sugar and form caramel.
  38. Meanwhile, heat cream and salt in a small saucepan.
  39. When the caramel is amber and smooth, add in the cream slowly and carefully. Continue to cook until you get a uniform caramel sauce.
  40. Remove from heat and add in the gelatin. Mix well until it is absorbed and melted into the mixture. Strain.
  41. Cool the caramel to 50c degrees and add the soft butter. Stir until it is absorbed in the caramel.
  42. Cool the caramel mixture at room temperature.
  43. Transfer the caramel into the bowl of an electric mixer with a whipping-attachment, add the mascarpone and whip until you get a uniform and stable cream. Beware off over whipping which may cause the cream to break.
  44. Transfer the cream into a piping bag fitted with 1 cm round piping tip.
  45. Fill the cream puffs.
  46. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the cream puffs.
  47. Place the cream puffs over the outline of the tart (on top of the ganache layer), and leave the center part blank at this stage.
  48. Vanilla Chantilly cream: in a bowl of a mixer with a whipping-attachment put cream, powdered sugar, vanilla and stabilizer and whip until you get very stable cream.
  49. Transfer the whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with Saint Honore piping tip, and drizzle cream in the center part of the tart.
  50. Exchange the piping tip into a 2cm round piping tip, and pipe small mounds of cream in between the cream puffs.
  51. Put one more cream puff in the center of the tart.
  52. Pipe small mounds of cream on top of the cream puffs. I used a serrated piping tip to do so, but you can keep using the round tip.
  53. White chocolate and nuts discs: chop the chocolate and put in a bowl. Melt in the microwave until melted and smooth.
  54. Pour the melted chocolate onto a baking paper, spread in a thin layer, sprinkle evenly hazelnut bits and chill in the fridge for 2-3 minutes until partial setting.
  55. Using a round 3-4 cm cookie-cutter, cut the chocolate to discs. Cool completely in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set.
  56. Place the chocolate discs over the cream puffs.

Notes:

  • This saint honore tart is at its best on the day of preparation, but you can keep it for up to 2-3 days in a closed container in the refrigerator.
  • You can make the crust and the cream puffs a few days in advance and keep frozen.
Saint Honore Tart – Caramel, Vanilla and White Chocolate

Photo: Natalie Levin

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