May 16 is the Feast Day of St. Honore, patron saint of bakers

A St. Honore cake. Image courtesy of The Bread Bakers Guild of America.
 
St. Honore, also known as Honoratus, became bishop of Amiens in Northern France in the 6th century. After his death, processions in his honor supposedly stopped both droughts and deluges, ensuring good wheat harvests. This won him the admiration of bakers across the country.

Eventually, the French bakers’ guild decided to honor him in the 17th century with the distinction of being the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. In imagery, he is depicted holding a baker’s peel (flat wooden paddle used to move loaves to and from a hot oven), often with loaves of French bread nearby.

Today, St. Honore is remembered through the St. Honore cake. Invented in Paris in the 19th century, this confection consists of a ring-shaped pastry filled with Chibaust cream (a filling made with pastry cream and airy Italian meringue), then topped with small cream puffs dipped in caramelized sugar, and draped with whipped cream.

The Feast of St. Honore is a time to appreciate breads and pastries, especially in France. The St. Honore cake is another delicious reminder of this special time.