Apple and raisin buns

I have just made perhaps the most satisfying sweet bake I can remember. I wasn’t planning to blog it so didn’t photo the process but the results are so good it needs recording, so here goes.

This is based on the Autumn Chelsea Buns in the September 14 edition of Waitrose Kitchen magazine, but I’ve substituted dates for raisins, added in salt (bread always needs salt) and messed around with the proving and baking times.

The apples work really well but I think this would also be fine just with dried fruit reconstituted in some hot water or tea. Actually nuts could work here too, cob nuts, hazelnuts or almonds. The buns are well flavoured and nicely gooey without being too sweet, which can be the killing factor of their sister, the cinnamon bun.

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Swirls of bunny goodness

Apple and raisin buns

Dough:

450g strong white flour

15g fresh yeast

8g fine salt

50g light brown soft sugar

2 tsp mixed spice

200ml milk

50g butter, melted

1 egg yolk

Filling

60g butter – half of it melted, half of it soft

2 eating apples, peeled and chopped into small dice. I used the ones I got from Clives last week.

Handful raisins (I use partially rehydrated)

1 tsp mixed spice

50g light brown soft sugar

Topping

The egg white

Water icing made with 3 dsp icing sugar

Make the dough the usual way: salt into the bottom of the bowl, flour on top, mix it all together to disperse the salt. Then rub in the yeast, sugar and spice. In a jug, melt the butter and add in the milk, warming it through if needed. The add the liquid plus the egg yolk to the flour and work to a dough. It’s quite hard which initially concerned me but on reflection the apples provide moisture – but add in more milk if needed. Knead it until elastic and then rest to double in size. This batch today (at 19c in the kitchen) took about two hours so don’t rush it. The more solid a dough, the longer it takes.

Prep the baking tray – I use baking parchment on top of foil inside a roasting tray. This avoids having to scrub baked caramel off the metal.

When the dough is ready, prep the filling: mix apples, raisins, spice, sugar and melted butter together.

Ease the dough to the work surface and gently work into a rectangle about 40cm x 30cm. Spread the remaining softened butter over the dough, then spread the filling over as evenly as possible. Roll the lot up into a tight swiss roll, then using a serrated knife, slice into even rounds – this recipe should provide 11 or 12.

Move them spiral-side up onto the baking parchment, close enough to meet when proved a little more. And then prove – 40 or so minutes should do it, they need to look noticeably larger. Meanwhile preheat oven to 220c.

When ready, whisk the egg white with a fork and paint onto the buns. Put in oven, immediately turn the temperature down to 180c and then bake for about 40-50minutes, until hollow sounding on bottom (you can test this because of the double layer of parchment/foil!) and generally looking done.

Cool, then drizzle icing on top.

Apparently these freeze well.

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