I’m a huge fan of buns, rolls or scrolls, any kind of bread with a sweet filling. I usually make cinnamon scrolls, which are always delicious. This time I wanted to make some sweet buns using boozy fruit from the jar in my store cupboard.
I keep a jar permanently in the cupboard with raisins and sultanas soaking in alcohol. I top up the jar with rum or brandy or even whisky, whatever I have on hand. Stick in a vanilla pod, give the mixture a stir and leave the fruit to macerate. The boozy fruit makes a delicious dessert served over ice cream or with cream or yoghurt, or as a filling for cakes or pastries.
These yeasted buns are full of luscious fruit and almond frangipane, rolled like a scroll, and finished with a golden syrup glaze while still warm. They are pretty easy to make, particularly if you use a mixer with a dough hook. You will need to use a bit of elbow grease if you knead by hand!
Start the buns the day before you want to bake them, and leave in the fridge overnight for the second prove. Then bake them first thing in the morning and eat them warm from the oven for breakfast if you can’t resist the smell of freshly baked sticky buns!
For the Dough
500g strong flour
7g instant yeast
50g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs, beaten
For the Frangipane
60g ground almonds
1 large free range egg
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
Filling + Glaze
300g boozy raisins and sultanas (If you don’t have a jar of prepared fruit, simply put the fruit in a bowl and cover with 1/2 cup of rum, brandy or whisky. Leave to soak for 1/2-1 hour)
100g golden syrup
100g icing sugar with a little water to make a paste
Put the strong flour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook or into a large mixing bowl if kneading by hand. Add the instant yeast and salt, making sure the yeast and salt are on opposite sides of the bowl, and the caster sugar. Add the milk which you have warmed to tepid (microwaving is easy) and the beaten eggs. Mix by hand into a rough dough, even if you’re going to use the dough hook in the next stage.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel or my favourite, a plastic shower cap, and rest for 20 minutes. Then move the bowl to the mixer and knead with the dough hook until the mixture is smooth and starting to develop some elasticity, about 5 minutes. Add the butter in small pieces, then knead again for about 5 minutes, using the mixer until the butter is thoroughly incorporated, the dough is smooth and you can achieve the “windowpane” effect. That is, you can pull some of the dough off the dough hook, between two fingers, stretching it so that it’s translucent.
If you are kneading by hand, you will knead to work the dough really well, in both stages, to get it to the desired silky, elastic stage.
Cover the bowl again and leave in a warm place to prove for about an hour, until the dough is doubled in size. You ideally need a temperature of about 25 degrees C. In winter in Sydney it can be hard to get that temperature, so I usually resort to leaving the bowl near the heating source, and even giving it an extra 30 minutes plus if the dough hasn’t doubled in size.
Make the frangipane while the dough is proving. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and mix. Or you can beat the ingredients together by hand. Either way you want to end up with a smooth paste.
Once the dough is risen, take the dough out of the bowl onto the bench top or ideally a large wooden board. Flour the bench top or board liberally with flour. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle, as large as you can go, with the dough ending up about 1/2 cm thick. My dough rectangle is usually about 30cm in width by 40-50cm in length.
Smear the frangipane over the entire rectangle of dough. It will look like you haven’t got quite enough, but keep on spreading and you will cover the rectangle.
Drain your boozy raisins and sultanas, and scatter them over the dough. Now carefully roll up the dough along the long side. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough. You should get about 12 slices, give or take.
Line a large baking tin or tray with baking paper. Carefully place each slice, cut side up, into the tin or tray, fitting them snugly together.
Place the tin or tray into a large plastic bag. You will need to make sure you have enough room in your fridge, as you are going to prove the buns in there overnight. Put the tin or tray into the fridge, and leave for 8-12 hours overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C fan forced, or 200 degrees C non fan forced. Place a baking tray, or ideally a cast iron pan, in the bottom of the oven, with some water in it, to create steam for your baking.
Remove the plastic bag from the tin/tray and put the buns straight from the fridge into the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until the buns are risen and a deep golden brown.
Remove the buns from the oven. Warm the golden syrup to make it spreadable – 30 seconds in the microwave on low, or gently heat in a saucepan.
While the buns are still still warm, brush all over with the golden syrup. Be generous! You want the buns to be really sticky!
Pull the buns apart, and eat while warm – they are truly delicious and moreish. Or wait till they are cool, and drizzle over some icing. Make the icing by adding water, a teaspoon at a time, to the icing sugar, until you have a paste that you can drizzle over the buns – not too thick but not too runny.
An easy way to drizzle is to put the icing in a zip lock bag and snip the corner off. You can squeeze the icing out of your makeshift piping bag.
Or even easier – dip a fork in the icing and drizzle straight over the buns!
Whether you eat warm or at room temperature, ice or not, these buns are super yummy. They keep for a couple of days, and also freeze well.
But best eaten on the day!