Preparation time: 1 hour 20 minutes, plus cooling
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Dietary guidance: v
300ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, split
100ml fresh custard
100g caster sugar
12-15 choux buns (see below)
4 tbsp Cointreau, Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1 large ready-made sponge flan case
For the choux buns:
300g plain flour
2 tsp caster sugar
pinch of Salt
10-12 small white and pink roses
8 mint sprigs
6 small twisted twigs
1. First make the choux buns. Preheat oven to 200°C/gas 6. Line several baking trays with baking parchment.
2. Sift the flour onto a plate.
3. Put the water, milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan and stir over medium heat.
4. Add the butter in pieces, and when it has melted bring to a fast boil. Remove from the heat and immediately add the flour all at once. Working fast, return to the heat and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and becomes smooth and shiny.
5. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition.
6. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle. Pipe small mounds of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays, leaving plenty of space between. Lightly press down the tops.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until well-risen and golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
8. Next whip the double cream until stiff.
9. Using the tip of a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the cream and mix well.
10. Fold the custard and 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the cream.
11. Spoon some of the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain narrow nozzle.
12. Insert the nozzle into the 12-15 of the choux buns and fill with the cream mixture.
13. Put the remaining sugar in a heavy-based non-stick saucepan. Heat gently without stirring until golden brown, taking care not to let it burn.
14. Using tongs, carefully dip each bun into the sugar and place on a parchment-lined baking tray to cool.
15. Next, drizzle the orange liqueur over the middle of the sponge.
16. Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon dipped in hot water, spoon the remaining custard and cream mixture into the centre of the sponge.
17. Once the flan case has been filled, place the choux buns around the edge of the flan just inside the rim.
18. Garnish one side with the roses, twigs and mint sprigs, and serve.