"There are buns for tea"

A bun. This one from the first batch, thus without its top hat of crushed sugar cubes and amaretti biscuits, which I now regard as obligatory.

As regular readers will know, I don’t really like cooking with yeast. I trust it to the breadmachine – see bagels – but making dough from scratch, I don’t really like using yeast.

Which is why I’m so comfortable, and confident, with sourdough.

But recently a recipe for Panettone teacakes on the Bakery Bits blog caught my eye, or rather, the Tweet advertising them did. So I tried them. The first time, I didn’t read the recipe properly and only realised you needed white chocolate when it was too late. I had dark chocolate (I always have dark chocolate) which I thought I could substitute because I thought the recipe might use the chocolate as ‘chips’. But it doesn’t – it’s used as as lard substitute. See Dan Lepard’s original recipe here from 2007, which explains it all rather beautifully (one of the many reasons that I love Dan’s recipes is that he tells you a bit about the whole chemistry of it too, so I always learn something, beyond how to make a new bun or bread).

Anyway I left the white chocolate out in my first batch, and also didn’t have enough candied peel. And used mostly sultanas rather than raisins. And didn’t have the recommended topping. But they were still great if a little less sweet than I think they should be. The second time I made them I had all the relevant ingredients and they were strangely, slightly less soft but completely delicious. These are the new house teacakes.

But the dough makes quite a lot (about 14) and that’s too much for us. If you want, this dough freezes beautifully. A few days after first making these, when teacakes were called for (freshly baked, and buttered, they make an excellent after swimming treat I’ve discovered), I got the dough out, defrosted it, shaped it, left them to rise and they were perfetti. In fact I’ve done this a few times now, frozen the dough and then taken them out the night before they were needed to defrost, got up in the morning, shaped them and given them an hour or so’s rising and then cooked them and they’ve been delicious.

These are life-affirmingly delicious about 20 minutes out of the oven.

The Aroma Panettone is an absolute must here.

These teacakes have promoted me to constantly say “there’s buns for tea” now. If there is a word in the English language more cheering than ‘buns’, I can’t think what it is. It’s so comforting, so Enid. Ironically the  Railway Children was on today and they said, at least twice “we can have buns for tea”.

Anyway here’s what  you need to do to have buns for tea:

14g instant yeast
125g warm water
600g strong white bread flour
50g milk – any type
50g honey
25g caster sugar
75g white chocolate, melted
150g sultanas (original calls for currants, I prefer sultanas)
150g mixed candied peel
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon of salt
3 large eggs, 3 egg yolks (yikes I know, a lot of eggs!) plus one extra egg for the egg wash although I find milk works almost as well and is less wasteful, especially if you freeze the mixture and make in batches.
2 teaspoons of Aroma Panettone

Amaretti biscuits
La Perruche sugar lumps

Measure out the flour. From the 600g, take 3 tablespoons and put that in a bowl with the yeast and water. Mix it up til it’s all dissolved. Leave it for about 15/20mins, until there is obvious bubbling. Because I whisk my mixture up, be sure the bubbles you see are the yeast working (these look more like geyser bubbles) rather than just ‘whisk’ bubbles. On a hot day you’ll see this fairly quickly. My kitchen is quite cool and it can take 20 mins plus.

Heat the milk up, then add the chocolate, sugar and honey. There isn’t much milk so you do think “how will the chocolate melt” but it does. If you get stuck you can always just very gently heat it up again, but I’ve never found the need. To this add the sultanas, peel, zest, salt and Aroma Panettone.

Separately, whisk the eggs together – the 3 whole eggs and the 3 yolks (freeze the whites, I’ve got a killer Madeleine recipe coming soon). You’re just combining them, you don’t have to whip them into a frenzy. To these add the yeast mixture and then the milk/peel mixture. Then the flour. Use a dough hook and a food mixer if you like, or do it by hand.

Just until it’s all incorporated.

Leave the dough to rest for ten minutes. Then you give it a light knead, on an oiled surface, with a 30 minute rest each time. Do this three times (so to recap, after the first mixing, leave the dough for 10 mins, then light knead, rest for thirty mins, light knead, rest for 30 mins, light knead, rest for 30 mins.

Egg-wash on, about to go into the oven

Now divide the dough up into a bun size. Patrick said 100g a piece, I find my buns are slightly smaller. Roll into a ball with your hand and place on a buttered baking tray (you’ll be cooking on this same tray so make sure it fits into your oven). Flatten to about 2cm thickness, or leave thicker if you prefer (they do rise up). Ideally don’t have them touching but if they do it really doesn’t matter – you just tear them apart when they’re cooked.

Now leave them to double in size. This takes about 30 mins in my warming drawer.

Beat the last egg and brush over the top of the teacake just as you’re ready to bake them and sprinkle over the crushed amaretti biscuits and sugar lumps. You can live without them of course but they really do add something.

Patrick recommended cooking his buns for 15 mins at 220, mine can be done in half that time (our oven is practically industrial in its heat), so set a timer and check for yourself.

These are lovely on their own or, you know, split and buttered…

Fresh out of the oven
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7 thoughts on “"There are buns for tea"

  1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes

    Buns for tea indeed! Where did you say you lived (wink) I love these buns – I've always frozen them once baked and cooled but I'm definitely going to try the frozen dough way now you've cracked it! Woo hoo!

    Reply
  2. The KitchenMaid

    Annalisa, I love your blog (and used to adore your Guardian column even in my carefree pre-child days) – but I have to ask, what is Aroma Panettone? Is it a magic bottle of the scent of baking panettone? How do you get the genie back into the bottle when you've let it out?!

    Reply
    1. Agnes Baldacchino

      I have only just discovered you. I love the way you write, it’s like sitting at the table together and just having a chat. I can see by the photo of the buns, you are a serious foodie, your stove looks beautiful and I’m sure many a happy hour is spent hovering over it conjuring up delights for your family.

      Reply
  3. Annalisa Barbieri

    Hello KitchenMaid and thanks for your kind words. Aroma Panettone is heaven to an Italian, it's Italian childhood in a bottle. It contains essential citrus oils of bergamot, orange, tangerine and vanilla extract….

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Hot cross buns, and Easter baking | Pane Amore e Cha Cha Cha

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