Saint Honoré pastry cake

Saint Honoré, World Baking Day and Birthdays

Happy Saint Honoré Day!  Today on 16th May the French celebrate the Patron Saint of French bakers. Don’t you love it?  What better way to start the day with homemade bread to join in the fête. Truth be told, when bread is so cheap and delicious here, I find there’s not enough motivation to make my own bread. So to change habits this year, I baked something this morning a little different than what we see in our local boulangeries – chocolate bread.

chocolate bread

It wasn’t sweet but pretty solidly packed with good dark chocolate and added extra grains.  I’ll post the recipe soon, as there’s still room for improvement. Any excuse to make it again and lighten it, right?

For more history about how Saint Honoré came about, The Good Life France has a super article on it. Saint Honoré is most famous for its special occasion pastry.  Created in 1847 by pastry chef Chiboust at his pâtisserie in Rue Saint Honoré, it’s the crème de la crème of pastries. With its puff pastry circle as a base, a ring of choux pastry holds little caramelised choux buns and is topped off with a flourish of crème chiboust, which is pastry cream with whipped egg whites and gelatine to hold its hair-do.

It’s the last recipe in Teatime in Paris and it’s not as complicated as you think. It’s all explained in the book but I’ve simplified it a bit for us lazy gourmets plus added a touch of violet.

Saint Honoré pastry cake

Don’t be a shrinking violet – making these Saint-Honorés are not as difficult as you think …

Following on from Saint Honoré, the baking continues tomorrow, Sunday 17th May, for … World Baking Day! Whatever next? I never follow these things since every day could be a baking day when we feel like it.

I saw on the instragram-osphere it’s a day “to remind someone special how much you care”.  It couldn’t have arrived at a better time, as we’ll be celebrating Antoine’s Great Aunt Raymonde’s 94th birthday.  If you have a copy of Teatime in Paris, I mention this remarkable lady in the opening of the Tartlets Chapter. I’m not being cheeky putting her here; her speciality is French colloquial expressions and you’ll see why she’s mentioned as she’s a real cherry on any cake.

Previously, for her 90th birthday, her “cake” had a vie en rose macaron theme. Tomorrow I’ll bake giant but light birthday éclairs with the sweetest Gariguette strawberries from the market (will post on Facebook/Instagram tomorrow).

Gariguette strawberries at the French market

Exactly a year ago, just as I was testing recipes non-stop for the new book, I tried out an experiment for my friend’s 50th. The “5” (outlined in pencil underneath the baking paper as a guide) was stuffed with whipped mascarpone cream (from the cream puffs recipe), topped with sweet strawberries.  The “0” was a long, elongated Paris-Brest (recipes in Teatime in Paris).

rue saint honore sign and giant 50th birthday eclairs


Here’s the birthday girl!  Raymonde at 94.  Isn’t she amazing? And the giant éclairs were ideal to serve for a gourmet but little appetite.  Cheers!

Giant eclairs for a 94th birthday cake

The party continues, as it’s also Carol Gillott’s (of ParisBreakfasts fame) birthday too.  Happy Birthday, Carol! She did the most beautiful artwork for the endpapers in the book.

Carol Gillott watercolours in Teatime in Paris by Jill Colonna

See the position of Carol’s lovely watercolour painted cream puff? Well that’s where we’ll be continuing the baking party at 13-A Baker’s Dozen in Rue des Saints-Pères (Saint Germain) for the Teatime in Paris book Event on Wednesday.

If you’re in Paris, it’s still not too late to join us. Click here for more details and to get the last tickets! It’s a good excuse to celebrate these birthdays there too. I’m making macarons, while my chef friend, Laurel is making pastries from the book…

box of chocolate macarons


If you can’t get to Paris for Wednesday, don’t forget to enter in the free draw to win a copy of “Teatime in Paris!” over at The Good Life France and for UK residents at the FarmersGirl Kitchen.  Good luck!



6 replies
  1. Thomasina
    Thomasina says:

    I love the 5 and the 0 and also the 9 and the 4 Jill. That’s special and most unusual for a birthday treat. Great Aunt Raymonde is amazing and I’m sure deserves to be made a fuss of.

    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      Thanks, Thomasina
      Yes, it’s a bit different and a light version of a birthday cake – but what’s more, it’s easy to make and doesn’t require moulds. I adore choux (éclair) pastry! Raymonde’s friends and neighbours all try to make a fuss of her; she’s such a thoughtful and caring lady with a heart of gold.

  2. Parisbreakfast
    Parisbreakfast says:

    Your St.Honore is simply divine!
    Aren’t you naughty to spill the beans on my B’day. Your Raymonde is fabulous and I love her giant eclair!! Have you written about the history of Chantilly? I better check my copy of TeaTime. After visiting Ch de Chantilly I’m curious..
    Can’t wait till wenesday’s do.

    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      Glad you had a super birthday in Chantilly, Carol. I don’t have it in the book since wanted to replace a classic with a mascarpone cream but great idea – I’ll do a recipe/blog post on it here – love the château and the grounds.
      Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday 4pm in Paris, Treize Bakery!

    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      I didn’t know either – saw it on the internet a few places but have no idea on these things. All these national apple pie days etc. is difficult to keep track of. I prefer just baking whenever – and let’s just say that every day could be World Baking Day,, right, Liz?



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