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Whin Bush (aka Gorse) Pastry Cream for Eclairs

The Whin Bush, otherwise known as Gorse, Furze or Furse is a spiny evergreen shrub that is actually a part of the pea family! The bright yellow flowers have a wonderful & distinctive coconut scent.

This is an important plant for wildlife providing a dense thorny cover which is ideal for protecting nesting birds. Whins bushes almost always have a flower in bloom hence the old English country phrase: "When gorse is out of blossom, kissing's out of fashion".

Darren Bradley's Gorse Ice Cream looked yumm (seen here) (click for a link to Darren's blog)

and give me the idea for this.... it's a simple Pastry Cream using those same lovely coconut fragrant flowers that would be delicious inside homemade eclairs!

My Ingredients:

½ litre milk
200g Whin (gorse) flowers

4 egg yolks
130 g castor sugar
30 g plain flour
10g cornflour
a pinch of salt

My Method:

Bruise the flower petals with a mortar & pestal or a very quick whizz in the food processor to help release more of that delicious coconut flavouring.

Bring the milk, flower petals, sugar & a pinch of salt to a gentle boil in a pot. Strain into a jug.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a big bowl until it's creamy and light. Whisk in the flour and cornflour until it is thoroughly mixed. Gradually pour the boiling milk into this while whisking continuously.

Transfer the whole mixture back into a clean pot and heat it on low to cook out. Stir it constantly with a wooden spoon until it has thickened. Don't let it stick to the pot!!

Once this custard cream has thickened, take it off the heat, pour it into a clean bowl and let it cool down. It will be thicker than a custard, more the consistency of a cold porridge. Once cooled you can cover it and refrigerate it until needed.

To fill your eclairs or flaky pastry slices etc, give the cream a good stir to smooth out before you spoon or pipe it into the cakes.

This is based on the classic French 'Creme Pattissier' so the recipe (without the flower petals) can be used and flavoured with whatever you like!

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