What have the French ever done for us? “They gave us French bread”
Apart from bread what else have they done for us? “They gave us croissants”
Apart from croissants what else have they done for us? “They gave us wine”
Yes, yes apart from bread, croissants and wine what else have they ever done for us?
“They gave us glacè cherries”
For someone who used to be a baker (this story will make it to the blog as I started to write it as I put this post together) I don’t bake a lot at home except for sticky toffee pudding (I’m sure the recipe will become a post) and my granola (http://wp.me/p4yOty-2I ).
I can bake but for two reasons I don’t like to:
Reason 1: Baking is a science and if you’ve ever watched Heston on TV you will see how scientific cooking is, dry ice, bunsen burners and other scientific equipment is all the rage. So trying to “wing it” just doesn’t work. Baking only works if you know how eggs and fats work. Thats why you can make cakes with out flour or raising agents and why sometimes your meringue holds and sometimes it doesn’t.
Reason 2: No matter how much icing or chocolate you slap on to your creation you cant hide your mistakes (believe me I’ve tried). The last cake I made had to be covered in coloured polka dot royal icing to hide the holes.
Covering cakes with icing, chocolate or even coloured polka dots isn’t always a sign of a mistake but a way to improve the dish. This is never more so true then the humble bun. Take a plain bun cover it in a simple sugar glaze icing and the dish is transformed, should you have any glacé cherries left from 1975 feel free to place it on top.
150g Mixed dried fruit
10g Ground mixed spice
350g Strong White Bread Flour
25g Caster sugar
1 Medium egg
100g Unsalted butter
150g Icing sugar
Put the flour, yeast and sugar in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Break in your egg.
Melt the butter and add to the bowl, along with 100ml tepid water. Bring the mixture together with your hands until it starts to form a soft dough or place in a mixer with a dough hook. If using a dough hook mix for about 5 minutes. Otherwise turn out on to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until very smooth and elastic, adding the dried fruit towards the end of kneading (this makes sure you don’t damage the fruit).
Return to a clean bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
Grease a large baking sheet.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and ‘punch’ with your fist to release the air.
Roll out the mixture in to a rectangle shape, rolling it as thin as possible. Once rolled out take the longest side and roll in to a pinwheel. Cut them in to about 2.5cm widths.
Lay flat on greased baking tray.
Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1½ hours. Towards the end of the proving time, preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.
Bake the buns for about 15 minutes until well risen and just golden. Transfer them to a wire rack, then cover with a clean tea towel and leave to cool. Blend the icing sugar with a little water and spoon over the buns.
Top with half a glacé cherry.