There’s been a lot of traffic to the blog lately for Apple Rose Tarts – not sure whether it’s been the return to our screens of The Great British Bake Off or what, but it just goes to show that people like pretty things to bake.
So that got me thinking about how I could put a twist on the prettiness of the tarts but in another form
and shamelessly cash in on their popularity.
I’m a big fan of buns – buns don’t get half as much press as they should, in my opinion: more robust than a cupcake, less sugary sweet and much more satisfying. However, they can all too easily tip over into heavy, claggy lumps of stodge, thick with stickiness – which becomes a logistical nightmare to try and eat.
Playing with food is always fun – partly, I’m convinced, because it is so frowned upon. Diving into Pullapart Loaves, Bubble Bread, Monkey Bread, Tear and Share, Cinnamon Buns or Chelsea Buns – to name but a few – and pulling out a handful of warm, pillowy dough is not only delicious fun, but carries that little frisson of excitement of doing something a little bit NORTY. Still not too pretty a sight, though.
Here, then, is my solution – buns with all the fun of a pullapart, but still delicate and pretty. Soft petals of sweet bun dough gently folded around each other, interleaved with a sprinkling of tangy, lemony sugar and butter.
If you’re prone to the Homer Simpson drools when it comes to fresh-baked carbohydrates, you can, of course, stuff them in your mouth whole. And with buns still warm from the oven this certainly would have strong ‘mitigating circumstances’.
However, today we’re going for – or at least TRYING for – delicate, so picture yourself peeling off each delicious petal one by one and maybe dipping it into a little pot of creamy cream cheese lemon topping for a moment of decadent indulgence.
OK, before we start, there are a couple of Top Tips I’d like to bring up.
Top Tip 1: Using milk either wholly or in part, to mix your dough will make the resulting buns/rolls softer. The downside is that it also reduces their keeping qualities to a couple of days. Then again, who has home-made buns lying around after 2 days anyway?
Top Tip 2: To get even more of that pillowy softness, brush the hot just-baked buns/rolls with milk as soon as they come out of the oven and then cover with a clean cloth. The heat of the dough will turn the milk into steam and the cloth with keep the steam close, softening the rolls as they cool.
Top Tip 3: Dissolving sugar into warmed milk will give you a bun glaze that will dry with a nice sheen. NB The more sugar you add, the shinier (and therefore stickier) the finished effect will be.
Sweet Rose Buns – makes 12
250g strong white bread flour
1 sachet fast acting easy blend yeast
25g caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 lemon
4tbs caster sugar
- Put the flour, yeast, sugar, butter, salt and egg into a food processor and blitz until well mixed. The mixture will resemble fine breadcrumbs.
- Tip the mixture into a bowl and make a well in the middle. If you have a stand mixer and a dough hook, then use that.
- Warm the milk.
- Add in the water and the vanilla to cool it to blood temperature. To test: stick your finger in it – if you can’t feel it, then it’s at the correct temperature.
- Add the liquid to the dry mix and bring together into a dough.NB It will be rather moist and soft, so if you’re kneading by hand, use a scraper on the surface to help you lift the dough as you knead it.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes, then set aside, covered, until doubled in size (about 45 minutes-1 hour).
- Grease a 12 hole bun/cupcake tin.
- Melt the butter. Have a pastry brush ready.
- Grate the lemon zest.
- Mix the lemon zest and sugar together.
- Tip out the risen dough onto a floured surface and pat down to press out the air.
- With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until very thin – just under 5mm. NB You will need to work quickly for the next part, because as soon as you stop rolling, the dough will start to rise again.
- Brush the sheet of dough with melted butter.
- Sprinkle the sugar/lemon mix evenly over the butter.
- Using a 5cm plain round cutter, cut out rounds of dough.
- Lay the dough out in rows of 7 circles, each circle of dough overlapping the previous one by half (see diagram).
- Using a pizza wheel cutter or sharp knife, cut along the mid-line of each row of dough as indicated. This will give you two sets of dough pieces, to make two rose shapes.
- Roll up from the left hand side and drop into one of the holes in the bun tin.
- Brush the finished rolls with beaten egg-white.
- Cover and set to rise for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 175°C, 150°C Fan.
- Mix the bun wash by mixing 2tbs caster sugar with 4tbs milk. Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved in the milk, otherwise your glaze will be grainy.
- Bake the risen buns for 15 minutes, turning the tin 180° after 10 minutes, to help get an even colour.
- Brush the hot buns with the bun wash and cool on a wire rack, covered with a clean cloth.
Lemon Cream Cheese Dip
100g cream cheese
Juice of 1 lemon – use the one from the recipe
40g icing sugar
1 tbs milk – Optional
- Beat the cream cheese until smooth.
- Sift in the icing sugar and beat to combine.
- Add the lemon juice and beat again until smooth.
- If the mixture seems a little stiff, add in 1tbs milk to loosen it.
Bonus Post – Flower Tarts
As you know, I’m not great with decorating with fondant or sugar paste or anything like that. I don’t have the steady hands for delicate piping or the patience for sugar-work. I actually much prefer the dish itself to be its own decoration. So these little tarts are right up my street – especially as they require practically no skill whatsoever – Bonus for me!
I’m not including a recipe, because the picture pretty much speaks for itself – this is more of a decoration suggestion.
I blind baked some pastry cases in a mini muffin tin  – filled them with a vanilla creme patissiere (thick custard is fine) and topped them with a single, perfect berry.
The surrounding petals are made out of two rings of sliced almonds poked into the custard – how simple is that? *she says, channelling Ina*
Anyhoo – thought you might enjoy – so enjoy! 😀
 I highly recommend getting a pizza wheel if you haven’t already got one – even if you don’t eat pizza! They’re extremely useful for cutting cleanly without dragging/tearing – perfect for this recipe.
 Top Tip 4 To blind bake the mini pastry cases, use mini muffin cases to line your pastry cases and fill them with rice. So much easier than trying to get parchment or foil in there.