GETTING READY FOR CHRISTMAS
Sticky Buns. November is early for me to start, but as I’m now a full-time student doing a degree in contemporary design craft, I am…how shall I put it… skint! So I’m going to be making
everything, and that requires planning In fact, I don’t intend to purchase a single present – it shall all be crafted by my own fair hands. (Ask me again in December and we’ll see how true that turned out to be!)Anyway, in light of this rash and now very public decision I’m writing lists, and
Lots of them. It’s exhausting! I very definitely deserve a break, a cuppa and one of these. You do too, so enjoy!
For the dough:
• 75g butter
• 500g strong white flour
• 50g light soft brown sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 x 7g sachets of yeast
• 200ml milk
• 2 large free-range eggs, plus an extra
• yolk for glazing
• Splash of sunflower oil for oiling
For the filling:
• 200g soft dried fruit – I used cranberries
• and apricots – roughly chopped
• Zest and juice of 1 orange
• 100g butter, softened
• 100g light soft brown sugar
• 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
• For the syrup:
• 50g caster sugar
1. Place the butter on the back of the Aga to soften but not melt. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and stir in the packet yeast. Rub in the softened butter with your fingertips until
There are no large lumps of butter.
2. Make a well in the mixture, pour in the milk and crack one egg into it. Bring the
dough together with your hands or, if you don’t like the stickiness, a spatula.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes – or about an episode of The Archers! The dough should be smooth and elastic and if a small piece is stretched, you should be able to see light shining through it without it breaking.
4. Oil a bowl with the sunflower oil, place the dough in it, cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove next to the Aga for about 80 mins, during which it should double in size (my favourite bit!).
5. Meanwhile, combine the chopped fruit with the orange zest and juice and place on the back of the Aga for at least 30 mins.
6. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter, sugar and cinnamon until well combined, then set aside.
7. When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a floured surface and knock the air out of it. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 30cm long.
8. Spread the cinnamon paste over the surface of the dough, making sure you reach the edges. Drain the soaked fruit, retaining the juice, and sprinkle the fruit evenly over the dough.
9. Working from the long edge of the rectangle, roll the dough into a sausage shape. Lay it on the floured work surface and cut into 12 evenly sized slices.
10. Place the slices side by side in a half-sized roasting tin lined with
Bake-O-Glide. Cover with the damp cloth or tea towel and prove for a further 45 mins next to the Aga.
11. If you are not using an Aga, preheat your oven to 200°C/gas 6.
12. When the buns have risen and are springy to the touch, they are ready to bake. Beat the remaining egg and egg yolk and brush over the buns.
13. Bake in the roasting oven on the lowest set of runners (hang your tin on the runners, not placed on top of the grid shelf) for about 8-10 mins then move to the baking oven, if you have one, for a
further 20 mins. If you have a two-oven Aga, slide in the cold plain shelf on the second set of runners for the remainder of the bake. Check after 15 mins – they may need to come out a little early.
14. If not using an Aga, turn your oven down to 180°C after the first 10 mins and bake for a further 20 mins.
15. While the buns are baking, make the syrup. Pour the juice from the soaked fruit into a pan and add the sugar. Heat on the simmer plate, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil and cook on the simmer plate for 5-6 mins. Set aside.
16. When the buns are done, remove from the oven and brush with the orange syrup while still hot. Then transfer themto a cooling rack. Now, try not to pick until you have made that cuppa!