- Serves: 8-10
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Prep Time: 50 minutes
- Effort: hard
For the crème patissière
- 6 egg yolks
- 125 g caster sugar
- 40 g plain flour, sifted
- 500 ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
- A little icing sugar, or butter
For the choux pastry
- 4 tsp caster sugar
- 85 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 115 g plain flour
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
For the gâteau
- 300 ml double cream
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds only
- 100 g caster sugar
- 50 ml orange liqueur
1. For the crème patissière: Whisk the egg yolks and a third of the sugar together in a bowl to a light consistency then whisk in the flour thoroughly.
2. In a saucepan, heat the milk with the rest of the sugar and the vanilla pod. As soon as it comes to the boil, pour it onto the egg yolk mixture, stirring as you go. Mix well, then return the mixture to the pan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring continuously with a whisk. Let the mixture bubble for 2 minutes, then strain into a bowl.
3. Dust the crème patissière with a veil of icing sugar to prevent a skin forming as it cools, or dot small flakes of butter all over the surface. Once cold, it can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove the vanilla pod before using.
4. For the choux pastry: Place 200ml cold water, the sugar and butter into a large saucepan on a medium heat. Heat gently until the butter has melted.
5. Turn up the heat and quickly pour in the flour and a pinch of salt in one go.
6. Remove from the heat and beat the mixture vigorously until a smooth paste is formed. Once the mixture comes away from the side of the pan, transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes.
7. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth and glossy and has a soft dropping consistency - you may not need it all.
8. For the gateaux: Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line two baking trays with parchment and place a 23cm metal ring on one of the lined trays. If you don't have a metal ring, draw a 23cm circle on baking paper and gently spread the mixture evenly over the circle with a wet knife.
9. Transfer your choux pastry to a piping bag and use half of the pastry to pipe 12 small buns on one of the baking trays. Pipe the remaining half into the metal ring on the other baking tray. Transfer the baking trays to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, until risen and golden. Set aside to cool.
10. Whip up the double cream until firm and add the vanilla pod seeds. Fold the mixture into the cream together with 2 tablespoons sugar and a dash of orange liqueur.
11. Heat the remaining sugar in a non-stick pan over a medium heat and cook until it turns into a caramel. If the mixture begins to set, warm it up gently.
12. Once the sugar has caramelised, carefully dip each choux bun into the sugar and then place on a greased baking tray to cool.
13. Remove the ring from the pastry base and drizzle the remaining orange liqueur over the middle. Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon warmed in hot water, place half the cream mixture into the centre of the base.
14. Make small holes in the bottom of each bun using a sharp knife and pipe in the remaining cream mixture to fill them. Arrange the buns around the edge of the cake and serve.
Hungry for more? Take a look at James Martin's cake recipe collection
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