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Today I spent the whole day in the kitchen preparing a special Father’s day present for my hubby. My way of saying thank you for being the father of our children, a bond that ties us together in so many ways, so I feel that a special present made with my two little hands is the least that I can do to mark the day. I made it today because my creation is an all day affair in the kitchen and my hubby mentioned that tomorrow would be an excellent movie day. So this special present, my hubby named it the Papa Nichols Gateau; the gateau/cake, as designed by my hubby, is a combination of the Paris-Brest and the Sainte Honore, two scrumptious pastries that have always been used to celebrate special occasions. Basically, they are a festival of cream puff pastry dough, vanilla pastry cream, whipped cream, puff pastry dough, praline pastry cream and an Italian meringue pastry cream. I felt like a mad scientist pastry chef scalding milk, scraping vanilla seeds from its pod, tempering egg yolks, caramelizing simple syrup, folding butter into flour, layer upon layer. Doing all this in a sequence of steps until everything is ready at the same time and then the assemblage commences. The two pictures are the end result of hours of work, cooking, baking and filling. The only reason why the cake is so challenging is the fact that I’m making a “professional” level pastry at home. I have a professional kitchen but not all the baking accessories specific to making a Saint Honore easily and efficiently, I also don’t have the back up of all the tools so everything needs to be washed so that I can use it again immediately to proceed to the next step. The work involved is something that I don’t mind whatsoever, I only get huge stress because I don’t have the self-confidence that it will turn out successfully and look pretty. It’s only when it is all said and done, that I can exhale and relax. Like I said in my previous post, I’m my own worst critic and task master.