Custard:480 ml whole milk
1 vanilla bean or 1 tbsp extract or paste, 6 egg yolks, 130g sugar, 30g corn starch, 1 tbsp cold unsalted butter, 300 ml double or whipping cream plus sugar to taste
Pastry:240ml water, 110g unsalted butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 120g Shipton Mill soft cake and pastry organic white flour, 3 eggs
Egg wash:1 egg, 2 tsp water or cream
1.Heat the milk with the vanilla over medium heat, whisking occasionally until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly.
2. Mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Add the egg yolks and whisk until it's smooth. Add about a quarter of the warm milk while whisking then slowly add the remaining milk to the mixture. Strain the mixture into the pot and whisk over medium heat until it thickens up and bubbling, then remove from the heat.
3.Stir in a tablespoon of cold butter, transfer it into a bowl and cover the surface with cling film, then chill it for two hours.
4. To make the pastry add the water, sugar, salt and butter into a pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
5.Remove from heat and stir in the flour. Return it to medium heat for just a minute until the dough will not stick to the pot. Set the oven for 220 C.
6. In a separate bowl mix the dough using an electric stand or a hand mixer on a low setting until it cools slightly, then add the eggs one at the time. If the mixture is not silky and its clinging onto the paddle add an extra egg.
7.Transfer the dough to a piping bag and pipe 1.5 inch or around 4 cm dots and an inch high (2.5cm) onto a baking paper. Pat the tops down with a wet finger. Brush them with an egg wash.
8. Bake them for about 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden colour, pierce them with a skewer then bake them another 3-4 minutes to let the steam escape and make them more crispy.
9.Whip the cream and sugar and whisk half of it into the custardand fold the rest in gently. It can also be added without mixing the two, just place a dollop on top of the custard when serving (as in picture).
10. Cut the cooled puffs in half and pipe the custard into them. Place the caps on and dust with icing sugar if desired. Enjoy!