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Strawberry and elderflower choux buns

by Angela Field
Strawberry and elderflower choux buns

Strawberry and elderflower choux buns

PT1H30M

Why not try?

Elderflower is everywhere at the moment, huge clumps of the distinctive white flowers can be seen at the side of the road wherever you travel through the British countryside. Yet the simple act of picking these flowers to make cordial is full of differing opinions.

Some say harvest first thing in the morning, before the insects have been able to collect the pollen. Others advise harvesting at the end of a warm sunny day. Small flowers with a mixture of buds yet to bloom are said to make the best cordial, while certain recipes require flowers in full bloom. One thing they all agree on though is that you should never pick elderflower on day when it has rained.

So when you have picked your elderflower on a sunny day and made your cordial, you can use it to create these strawberry and elderflower choux buns. You could of course just buy some elderflower cordial for this recipe and it will taste just as delicious.

Strawberry and elderflower is a classic pairing and they complement each other beautifully. Sometimes elderflower can be overpowering, but the sweet strawberries and the crisp choux pastry help to temper the strong floral flavour.

Generally choux pastry should be eaten within a few hours of filling as it has a tendency to become soft. You can make most of the components in advance as everything will keep well. The compote will keep for up to a week, the craquelin can be stored in the freezer for a month and the choux can be cooked and then frozen. To use the frozen choux just thaw before cooking in the oven for 5–10 minutes to crisp up.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

  • Strawberry compote

  • 300g of strawberry purée
  • 300g of strawberries
  • 15g of pectin
  • 40g of sugar
  • Craquelin

  • 25g of plain flour
  • 25g of caster sugar
  • 20g of unsalted butter
  • Choux pastry

  • 60g of unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 120ml of water
  • 40g of plain flour
  • 45g of strong white bread flour
  • 2 large eggs, or 3 if needed
  • Elderflower cream

  • 400ml of whipping cream
  • 70ml of elderflower cordial
  • 1 tbsp of icing sugar
1
To make the compote, combine the strawberries and purée in a small saucepan and bring to the boil
2
Mix the pectin and sugar together in a bowl then add it to the saucepan. Stir it to mix in evenly and heat the compote until it reaches 95°C
3
Take the compote off the heat and place it in a bowl. Leave to cool
4
For the craquelin, combine the flour, sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle and mix to bring it all together
5
Once the craquelin forms a dough, remove it from the bowl and roll out between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper to about 2mm thick. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes to chill
6
When frozen, use a 4cm round pastry cutter to cut out 16 rounds of pastry. Return the circles of craquelin to the freezer for use later
7
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment
8
Place the butter, salt, sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, add both of the flours to the saucepan and quickly stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture makes a dough
9
With the pan on a low heat, stir vigorously for a couple of minutes then transfer the dough to a bowl. Stir for a few minutes more until it stops steaming
10
Add the first egg, beating until fully absorbed, then add the second egg and beat again. You may not need all of the third and final egg, keep adding a little at a time and mixing the pastry until the pastry falls from the spoon in a ‘v’ shape
11
Transfer the pastry to a piping bag with a 1.5cm plain round piping tip fitted and pipe 16 balls of choux that are 5cm in diameter, on both of the prepared baking trays
12
Top each choux bun with a craquelin round and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Turn off the oven and leave the choux to dry out in the oven for a further 30 minutes
13
When the choux has cooled down, gently slice the tops off the choux buns – just remove a small circle, don’t cut the buns in half
14
Place the cream, elderflower cordial and icing sugar in a bowl and whip the cream until stiff. Spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle
15
Spoon the cooled compote into the bottom of the choux buns and then pipe a double layer of cream on top, ensuring no compote can be seen. Place the small round of choux on top to finish the pastry
image
16
The filled choux buns will soon start to soften, so these are best eaten within 24 hours of filling. Store in the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for around 10 minutes before serving
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