Apricot and raisin bun – one of my favourite fruit buns!
Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson and Cheryl Cordeiro-Nilsson for Cheryl Marie Cordeiro 2010
Fruit filled buns have always been a favourite of mine ever since I was a little girl bouncing from bakery to bakery around the neighbourhood with my mother in Singapore. The heartland bakeries in Singapore where the likes of the Bengawan Solo bakery chain has sprung, produce some of the simplest yet most flavourful cakes and buns for Sunday afternoon tea. It was always convenient to grab a small box of your favourite cakes on display that cost next to nothihng at all, to have with the family at home.
With Easter upcoming only a few weeks away, I thought I’d share a variation of the hot cross bun recipe, one that has been adapted from traditional Swedish cookbooks to my liking.
Early spring tulips.
These buns are just about palm sized, not too large that they fill you up completely, but large enough to pass the afternoon before dinner.
- 700g flour
- 1 tsp salt
- *2 tsp ground cardamom
- *2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 100g unsalted butter
- 85g sugar
- 15g yeast
- 1 egg for glazing the buns
- 300ml milk
- 150g raisins and dried apricots (or mixed dried fruit if you like)
(* you could also substitute ground mixed spice)
I begin by melting the butter and warming it together with the milk till the butter dissolves. This is then taken off the heat and set aside to cool to about 40 deg C or slightly cooler. In a mixing bowl, goes the yeast, the spices and sugar. When the butter and milk are cool, it’s added to the mixing bowl and stirred till all is dissolved. Then goes in the flour till the dough is of a sticky but not too firm consistency. Cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm area of the room to rise and double in size. This should take about 2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, I deflate it in the bowl itself and begin to knead it, adding the dried fruits. Since I like the buns to be packed with fruits, I tend to add quite a bit of dried fruits to the dough!
At this point, you could have a small weighing scale with you if you’d like perfectly weighted buns. Otherwise, you can size out the buns approximately by pinching a portion of dough and rolling it into a ball in the palm of your hand. Arrange these balls of dough on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a tea towel to let rise again, which should take 15 to 30 minutes. You can now begin to preheat the oven to about 200 deg C.
Glaze the buns with the beaten egg (some use egg with a little milk) just before putting them in the oven. As a variation, you can dust castor sugar over the buns – just as I had them when growing up – before baking. The buns are done once they’re golden brown on the top, which should take around 15 minutes.
This makes for a simple afternoon baking activity and the buns are best served when just cooled off the rack with a cup of cold milk.