125 g unsalted butter
250 g plain flour
4 large eggs
450 ml double cream
4 tbsp vanilla sugar
Choux buns stuffed with cream are the perfect partners for the first of the home-grown raspberries. Choux pastry is really easy – nothing to it once you get the hang of it. Make a big batch of cream-stuffed puffs, bag them up and haul them out of the freezer whenever you need them.
Roughly chop the butter and put it in a heavy saucepan with 300ml water. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat as soon as the butter has melted. Sift in the flour gradually, beating with a wooden spoon till smooth and there are no visible pockets of flour. Set the pan back on the heat and beat the mixture until it's solid enough to leave the sides clean – a few minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the dough to cool to finger heat. Add the eggs one by one, beating thoroughly between each addition. At first the dough will seem reluctant to accept the eggs; as you persist, it will become easier to work, rather as a mayonnaise becomes more malleable. At the end, the dough should be shiny and softish, though still firm enough to hold its shape when dropped from a spoon.
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4.
Butter a couple of baking sheets or use non-stick ones. Using 2 teaspoons, scoop out nuggets of dough and drop them on to the sheets, allowing plenty of space between them for expansion. Bake for 35–40 minutes, till well puffed, brown and firm. As soon as you take them out of the oven, slip a knife into the side of each one to let out the steam – if you don't do this, the pastry is likely to soften and collapse. If the innards are still a little doughy, scoop out the excess dough with the handle of a teaspoon. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Whip the cream, sweeten with the vanilla sugar and stuff the puffs generously. Freeze until needed.
When you're ready to serve, heap the frozen puffs straight from the freezer into a pyramid in a bowl and finish with a good handful of raspberries. Add more raspberries and extra sugar when you serve.
Taken from 'A Cook's Year in a Welsh Farmhouse' by Elisabeth Luard (Bloomsbury, £25.)