Henry Sugar’s Elderflower baba with toasted fennel seed ice-cream, blueberries, and macadamia

“A friend dropped off two huge tubs of elderflowers that were looking so awesome, we ended up making about 20L of syrup. The best way to use up syrup in a dessert is in a baba (classically rum-baba).

“This dish took a little while to develop. We eventually settled on toasted fennel seed ice-cream (the fennel element came from a previous cocktail flavour pairing).

“Blueberries bring a great little zip of acidity and were at the peak of their season. In the version we served we had blueberries in a few different ways (fresh, jellied, freeze dried), and to round out the texture, raw macadamia gave a crunch and a touch of oiliness to help carry the other flavours.”

What tastes does it evoke? “Fresh, light and delicate while having a fair bit of intensity. A nice light twist on a traditionally sweet dessert.”

What would you recommend we drink with it? “The sweetness of the dessert calls for something dry or rich to offset it. I’d go with a delicate spirit like gin, Gin & Tonic with some cucumber, or a White lady cocktail would be delicious, even a simple Tom Collins – you could spruce it up with a touch of the elderflower liqueur and a few of the blueberries to match flavours.”

Baba dough
500 strong high protein flour
125 butter at 25 C
45 sugar
10 salt
10 dried yeast
225 whole egg


Knead all ingredients in a stand mixer with a dough hook leaving the salt and butter until the last moment.
Form into a ball and leave to proof until double in size, about 30 minutes in a warm spot.
Knead again then repeat the proofing process.
Cut into 40 gram pieces and form into balls and put into greased mini dariole moulds or plum cake moulds.
Proof until double in size then cook at 140 C for about 8 minutes or until the dough reaches 90C.
Turn out into a lidded container lined with a tea towel until cool.

Toasted fennel seed ice cream

Infuse milk overnight with toasted fennel seeds about 100g to a litre. Strain then use the milk in a standard anglaise ice cream base.


Cut baba in half then soak in a hot elderflower syrup mixed with a little elderflower liqueur. Allow to cool then serve with the ice cream and blueberries.


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