Okay, peeps, it's been a tough week (and it's only Tuesday). Lockdown in South Africa has been going on for a really, really really long time and the general feeling out there is that we are over it. I'm over it. I miss my family, I miss my friends and I really need a holiday where I can completely switch off. I'm not one to advocate eating your feelings, but right now the best I can offer you is the promise of a warm and comforting homemade bun.
Make these for yourself, those you're stuck at home with or even your neighbours (delivered at a safe distance, of course).
Cinnamon & Pecan Nut Buns
These come with a serious warning: They are loaded with sugar and are highly addictive. I've had very aggressive conversations with people who have forbidden me from ever making them again. The ingredients list and method might seem long, but they are actually really easy to make and totally worth the effort.
Your kitchen will smell great as well.
- 1 cup milk
- 65g butter
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 cups cake flour
- 65g butter, softened
- 2 cups brown sugar, dark or light, or a mixture of both
- 2 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup pecan nuts, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 55g butter, at room temperature
- 125g cream cheese
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup pecan nuts, chopped
- Place the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow the butter to melt but don't let the mixture boil. It needs to be around 37°C.
- Sprinkle over the yeast and allow to sit for about 5 minutes until it begins to foam.
- Add the eggs and sugar to the milk, butter and yeast and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Combine the salt and flours in a large mixing bowl, whisk to get rid of any lumps and make a well in the centre.
- Pour in the egg and milk mixture, and with a wooden spoon mix until just combined.
- Tip the dough mixture out on to a clean surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until you have a lovely smooth dough. You might need to lightly flour your hands if it's a bit sticky.
- Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to prove for about an hour.
- Grease, flour and line a large round or square cake tin.
- When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it down and place on a clean and lightly floured surface.
- Roll out into a rectangle, about 35cm x 50cm (with the long side facing you), and using the back of a tablespoon, spread with the softened butter.
- Evenly sprinkle the buttered dough with sugar, cinnamon.
- Carefully roll the dough up into a scroll, pinching the sides together so as much of the filling remains inside as possible. If you lose some, don't stress, you can sprinkle it over the buns once they've been cut and are in the baking tin.
- Cut the scroll into 8 - 12 buns, depending on how big you want them to be.
- Carefully pick up each of the cut buns and arrange in the baking tin, remembering to sprinkle over any lost filling.
- Cover with a tea towel and allow to prove for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and make the icing by combining the icing sugar, butter, cream cheese, vanilla in a bowl and whisking until combined. Set aside.
- Bake the buns for around 15 minutes, until risen and golden brown.
- Spread the icing over the buns while they are still hot.
- Eat as soon as possible or reheat in a hot oven for around 10 minutes/microwave for around 1 minute.
- I use a combination of bread and cake flour in this recipe because I prefer a fluffier bun. Bread flour has more gluten in it, and when you knead dough that gluten strengthens and gives the bread a tougher texture.
- If you can get hold of fresh yeast, use it! All you need to do is use double the amount to dry yeast.
- These buns are best eaten on the same day you make them, but depending on how many people you have to feed and if you don't want to go into a sugar coma, you can reheat them in a hot oven or microwave for about 1 minute.