Choux pastry is really delightful to work with – the moisture in the dough becomes steam in the oven and expands along with the air beaten into the dough during the mixing process. This causes the choux to swell up to three times its unbaked size and the result is an airy, feather-light pastry filled with lovely fresh vegetables.
This dish is perfect for special occasions – it looks wonderful as a party dish. The combination of cauliflower with mushrooms and spices makes it really delicious. It’s really rich but you end up wanting to eat more.
This recipe has been adapted from Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes.
PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour SERVES: 4-6
8 tbsp butter
11/4 cups plain flour
1 cup Gruyère/Cheddar cheese, finely diced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the filling
1 small cauliflower
200 grams tomatoes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
11/2 cups button mushrooms, halved if large
11/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
11/2 tsp chilli powder
Fresh coriander, chopped
Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Butter a large baking dish.
Place 11/4 cups water and butter together in a large saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and add all the flour at once. Beat well with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time and continue beating until the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the cheese and mustard and season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture around the sides of the baking dish, leaving a hollow in the centre to take the filling.
Cut the cauliflower into small florets, discarding the woody stalk in the centre.
To make the filling, purèe the tomatoes in a blender and add water, if necessary to make up to 11/4 cups of liquid.
Heat the oil and butter in a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Add the onions after a few seconds and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cauliflower and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the tomato liquid and coriander. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
Spoon the cauliflower mixture into the hollow of the baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes until the pastry is risen and is golden brown on top. Serve immediately.