Recipes and notes from Charlie Hibbert, Chef Director at Thyme: a pastoral idyll which offers a place to pause for thought in harmony with the seasons. A bucolic retreat of rooms, luxury and rest, Thyme provides a range of workshops, treatments, events, and some of the most delicious, locally sourced food in the county at the Ox Barn.
Charlie’s Lemon Cream Puff
November to March is prime citrus season. In the kitchen we’re using blood oranges in salads, the last of the clementines are being juiced and sorbet’d, and pans are full of Seville oranges for marmalade. Lemons are also abundant, and this is a favorite and deceptively simple dessert.
For the choux pastry:
- 120ml whole milk
- 120ml water
- 100g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp table salt
- 150g plain flour
- 4 medium-sized free-range eggs
For the lemon curd:
- 4 unwaxed lemons, juiced
- 200g caster sugar
- 120g unsalted butter
- 3 large free-range eggs, whisked
For the candied peel:
- 2 unwaxed lemons
- 200g caster sugar, plus extra for coating
- 200ml water
- 400ml double cream
- Vanilla ice cream
- Icing sugar to dust
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (normal) | 160°C (fan) | gas mark 4
- Start with the choux. Put milk, water, butter, sugar and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- As soon as it starts to boil, whisk in the flour and remove from the heat. Keep whisking, ensuring no lumps.
- The mix will be dough-like and come away from the sides of the pan. Set aside for five minutes before whisking in the eggs one by one. Transfer to a piping bag.
- Next, lemon curd. Fill a small pan a third full with water and bring to a simmer. Put all the ingredients except the egg in a heatproof bowl over the simmering water.
- Once the butter has melted, whisk in the eggs. Using a spatula keep stirring until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about five minutes.
- Then remove from the heat and set aside.
- For the candied peel, peel strips off the two lemons, put into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove the peel and refresh in cold water.
- Next, bring the sugar and water to boil creating a sugar syrup.
- Add the peel and allow it all to simmer for around 10 minutes or until pith is translucent and the lemon rind is soft.
- Allow to cool, then slice into thin ribbons before tossing in caster sugar.
- Line a baking tray with parchment. Pipe the choux pastry into small mounds equal to two tablespoons of mix.
- Dip your finger in a little cold water and flatten the top of each bun. Cook for 25 minutes or until golden and puffed.
- Once cooked, allow to cool and slice in half. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold through four tablespoons of the lemon curd.
- Place a spoonful of the lemon cream in the base of each bun, followed by a scoop of ice cream and then top off with another spoonful of lemon cream.
- Pile on the candied lemon peel, dust each plate with a little icing sugar and serve.
Thyme’s Happenings by Milly Hibbert
As we usher in the new month, it brings with it the first days of the new season. Vibrant crocuses are cropping up on the lawns and gardens, and we welcome an array of cultural and creative happenings at Thyme.
This month, join our monthly residents Vigour and Skills and explore an Introduction of Distilling Hydrosols with Saskia Marjoram. Learn how our chefs bring the spring season and its garden produce to the plate in a signature Thyme cookery class, from the art of crafting canapés to mastering the skill of pâtisserie.
Learn more at thyme.co.uk