Make sure you leave plenty of time for the rich dough to rise and you will be rewarded with lovely, light babas. The delicate flavours of strawberry and elderflower work beautifully together on this summery English twist on a sweet classic.
Make the dough. Place the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the beater. Warm the milk in a small pan until it is hand hot, then add this to the bowl with the eggs. Add the very soft butter, in small pieces, then beat on a slow speed until the mixture is a thick, smooth, very soft dough.
Place the dough into the large piping bag and snip a 1cm hole in the end. Pipe the mixture into the moulds so that they are half full. Cover lightly with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for up to 3 hours, until the dough reaches the top of the moulds.
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6, then bake the babas in the oven for about 10–15 minutes, or until golden on top. Allow to cool in the moulds for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the elderflower syrup. Place the cordial, sugar and 100ml of water in a medium pan. Measure out 40ml of the lemon juice and add this and the pared strips of peel to the pan. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring all the time, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Make the strawberry crème pâtissière. Place the strawberries in a food processor and blend until smooth. Press the mixture through a sieve and measure 100ml of strawberry purée.
Place the egg yolk, caster sugar and cornflour in a small pan and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Gradually add the strawberry purée to the mixture, stirring to combine, then cook over a low heat for 3–4 minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir through the butter. Transfer to a small bowl, cover the surface with cling film, cool and then chill until needed.
Make the elderflower crème pâtissière. Place the egg yolk, caster sugar and cornflour in a small pan and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Gradually add the elderflower cordial, lemon juice and milk, stirring to combine, then cook over a low heat for 3–4 minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir through the butter. Transfer to a small bowl, cover the surface with cling film, cool and then chill until needed.
Place the double cream and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk until the mixture forms soft peaks. Loosen the elderflower and strawberry crème pâtissières with a fork, then beat half the whipped cream into each until combined. Place each flavour into a piping bag and store in the fridge until needed.
Once cooled, slice the domed top off the babas so that they sit flat when turned upside down. In batches, dunk the babas into the syrup, pressing the babas down on one side for about 10 seconds, then flipping and soaking the other side for a further 10 seconds. Remove the soaked babas from the syrup and place them on a wire rack to drain while you soak the remainder.
Decorate the babas. Spoon the crème pâtissières each into a small piping bag. Snip the end off each bag and pipe 10 alternate dots of elderflower and strawberry crème pâtissière on top of each baba. You should have two rows of 5 dots on each side. Cut the strawberries for decoration into small pieces of varying shapes and scatter these over the babas, then finish with the elderflower heads or edible flowers. Serve chilled with any remaining crème pâtissière on the side.