This recipe has a wonderfully retro feel about it, and it’s none the worse for that. The deliciously savoury flavours here, and the beautifully crisp choux pastry, will always go down a storm.


  • For the choux buns

  • 100g unsalted butter, cut into roughly 1cm cubes

  • Pinch of salt

  • 300ml water

  • 130g strong white bread flour

  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme

  • 4 medium eggs, beaten

  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated

  • For the filling

  • 25g unsalted butter

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large eschalion (banana shallot), sliced

  • 600g mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 tsp thyme leaves

  • 2 tbsp dry sherry

  • 200g crème fraîche

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • 1.

    Heat your oven to 200°C/gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

  • 2.

    To make the buns, put the butter, salt and water into a large saucepan. Heat gently until the butter has melted then bring to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and tip in the flour and thyme. Beat with a wooden spoon to form a smooth ball of dough that should leave the sides of the pan.

  • 3.

    Now vigorously beat the egg into the hot dough, a little at a time. This takes some elbow grease! As you add the egg, the dough will become stiff and glossy. Stop adding the egg if the dough starts to become loose – but you should use up all or most of it.

  • 4.

    Put the dough in 4 large blobs, each about 10cm across, on the prepared baking tray. (Alternatively, you can pipe the choux on to the tray.) Sprinkle the parmesan over the dough.

  • 5.

    Bake for 30 minutes in the centre of the oven until well risen and golden. Then move to the bottom shelf for a further 10 minutes to ensure the centres are cooked. The buns should be crisp and dry.

  • 6.

    Remove from the oven and split one side of each bun to allow the steam to escape. Put on a wire rack to cool.

  • 7.

    For the filling, melt the butter with the oil in a large, wide frying pan. Add the shallot and cook for a few minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Cook for around 10 minutes over a high heat, stirring often, until the mushrooms are reduced in volume by about half, are buttery and soft and their liquid has been driven off.

  • 8.

    Add the sherry and crème fraiche and gently bubble for around 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced.

  • 9.

    Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and plenty of black pepper.

  • 10.

    Cut each choux bun fully in half. Fill with the warm mushroom mixture and serve, with a green salad.

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