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Boozy Buns with Raisins and Sultanas

 


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!

Ingredients 

For the Dough

500g strong flour

7g instant yeast

10g salt

50g caster sugar

250g milk

2 large free range eggs, beaten

50g butter

For the Frangipane

50g butter

50g sugar

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

Icing

100g icing sugar with a little water to make a paste

Method

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!

Quick Mix Citrus Cake

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This cake is based on Annabel Langbein’s Orange Lightning Cake from her recent book Simple Pleasures. It’s an easy cake where most of the ingredients are combined at the same time.

The original recipe calls for an uncooked whole orange. I substituted candied cumquats and lemon for the orange, as I had a jar of cumquats from winter bottling in the store cupboard which I though would be quite piquant. The cumquats were cooked. I added half a lemon (uncooked) as I thought the cake might be a little sweet. I cut down on the sugar in the recipe for the same reason.

I used a fluted tin for presentation.

Ingredients
1 orange (unpeeled)*
1 tsp bi-carbonate of soda
125 gms softened butter
1 cup sugar#
2 eggs
1 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup sultanas or raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease a 20cm diameter cake tin or fancy tin and line the base with baking paper.
Cut the orange or other fruit into segments, remove the seeds and whizz in a food processor until finely chopped.
Dissolve bi-carbonate of soda in 1/2 cup water and add to the food processor with butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Whizz to combine. Add sultanas or raisins, and walnuts if using, and stir with a spoon or pulse several times to just combine.
Pour into prepared cake tin and bake until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean 50-60 minutes.
Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a cake rack. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar, or fresh berries, or lemon or orange water icing.

* I substituted 1/4 cup candied cumquats and half a lemon.

# If using cumquats use 3/4 cup sugar.

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Cookie Sampler

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This selection of cookies, presented as a cookie sampler, comes from a recipe from Annabel Langbein for Butter Cookies:

http://www.annabel-langbein.com/annabel/blog/one-clever-cookie/

Annabel suggests making a quantity of dough and dividing into portions, flavouring each portion in whatever way you fancy!

I chose Carnival Cookies with hundreds and thousands, Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate with Chocolate Chip Cookies and Sultana and Cornflake Crisp Cookies.

The quantities I have used are half those mentioned in Annabel’s recipe. I ended up with about 3 dozen or so cookies.

Ingredients

250 gms butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
A few drops of vanilla extract
21/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

Flavourings of your choice (see below)

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, then stir in the flour and baking powder.
To make Cookie Sampler, divide dough into 4 portions. Mix flavourings (see below) into each portion.
Chill mixture for 15 minutes. Roll into walnut-sized balls, place on baking trays and flatten slightly. Decorate according to instructions for different flavourings. Bake until lightly golden and set (about 20 minutes).
Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the tray then transfer to a rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container or jar. They will keep for several weeks – if they become a little stale simply refresh for 5 minutes in an oven preheated to 180 degrees C.

Cookie Sampler
Once you’ve made a batch of Butter Cookie dough, divide it into 4 and mix a different flavouring into each portion (you’ll get about 8 -12 cookies in each flavour).

Carnival Cookies
Roll 1 portion of dough into balls, dip each ball into hundreds and thousands then flatten onto tray.

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Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies
Add ¼ cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries and ¼ cup coarsely chopped white chocolate to 1 portion of the cookie dough.
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 Chocolate with Chocolate Chip Cookies
Add 3 tsp dark cocoa, 3 tbsp milk or dark chocolate chips to 1 portion of dough.
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Sultana and Cornflake Crisps
Add 3 tbsp sultanas and 4 tbsp lightly crushed cornflakes to 1 portion of the cookie dough.
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Boozy Sultana and Raisin Slice

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I have had some sultanas and raisins macerating in vodka in the pantry left over from a Christmas party where I made Christmas pudding vodka shots, from a recipe from the  wonderful Hairy Bikers:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/christmas_pudding_vodka_45343

So I used a basic sultana slice recipe to use up the fruit and tweaked it to make this rather boozy slice! I think you could add a lemon drizzle icing for aesthetic effect rather than taste enhancement.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 level tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup hazelnut meal
1 cup sultanas and raisins soaked in vodka, muscat or port
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 generous tablespoons golden syrup
4 tbl butter or olive oil spread

Method

Line a swiss roll tin with baking paper and preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
Heat butter/olive oil spread and golden syrup together until melted in the microwave and  allow to cool.
Sift flour and cinnamon together into a bowl, add sugar, macerated fruit, beaten egg and golden syrup mixture, and mix well until combined.
Press into lined tin and bake for 25 minutes.
Let slice cool completely in tin before cutting into slices.

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