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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.
Heat your oven to 200°C/gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Remove from the oven and split one side of each bun to allow the steam to escape. Put on a wire rack to cool.
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.
Add the sherry and crème fraiche and gently bubble for around 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced.
Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and plenty of black pepper.
Cut each choux bun fully in half. Fill with the warm mushroom mixture and serve, with a green salad.
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