Sometimes the best dessert is something simple in idea but sophisticated in flavour. Case in point: The Cream Puff!
I love Cream Puffs. Light, airy, Pate de Choix pastry… but a sophisticated flavour filling with French Pastry Cream made with Vanilla Bean. Then sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar on top! Perfection!
Yesterday I spent many hours baking some extra special yummies for my husband for Valentine’s Day. I baked him mini cream puffs filled with a decadent vanilla French pastry cream, made from real vanilla beans.. Then dusted with a sprinkle of icing sugar. 🙂
I also made 60 mini cream puffs for my husband to take to work for his co-workers and staff. 😉
This year I made one of my favourite all time cakes – the St. Honore. I LOVE this cake. I love everything about it. But.. it’s an extremely difficult, and time consuming cake.
First you have to make the puff pastry from scratch. It’s best to let it rest for a couple days before continuing on to the next step, and that is cutting the layers for the St. Honore cake and baking each layers to it yummy flakiness. Once that is done, the layers must cool, and be ‘trimmed’ so that they all line up perfectly when assembling the cake.
But before you can begin assembling the cake, you must first make the French vanilla pastry cream filling that is lathered thickly on each layer of the cake, as well as piped into all of the cream puffs.
Did I mention something about cream puffs? Yup.. well, you will also need to make those from scratch. And no, they must be made the same day as the assembly so that they are at their peak freshness. Yum! 🙂
When all of these components are complete, assembly may begin. Layers of puff pastry lathered thickly with delicious French vanilla pastry cream. Don’t forget the layers of fresh sliced strawberries. Layer after delicious layer. Then finally topped with a whip cream icing, and decorated with even more fresh strawberries.
Yes, my absolute favourite cake!
And so… when my friend had a birthday and she had mentioned earlier that year when I had made the St. Honore for our New Year’s Eve Celebration on December 31st, 2012, that in her excitement this was her favourite cake, and that she could never find it.. I just knew I was going to have to make her one especially for her birthday.
Only this time it was a mini version just for her and her husband:
And while I was at it… I decided to make a slightly different version my husband and me: 😉
On March 15th it was my Dad’s 75th birthday. But yesterday, was his birthday party! 🙂
So guess who was in charge of his birthday cake? Me! I ended up making him a St. Honore Cake.
I also made some fun Chocolate Bark for my nephews. Because my one nephew has a nut allergy, I have to think outside the traditional Bark box, and come up with something else. I needed something that was nut-free and kid friendly. Traditionally there is a nut and a fruit of some kind in Bark. But for their Bark I used Callibaut Chocolate (because they guarantee that it is made in a nut-free facility), then added mini marshmellows and rice crispy cereal. Yummy! 😀