Orangey Honey Buns

By Anna, 25 August, 2011 3:30 pm

 

 

Rum Babas, basically. No, no, no. So much more than that. So much more.
Rum babas should be as good as it gets, but these little morsels – from the brain of Valentine Warner, but improved, slightly adapted by me – are even better. Yes, they are!
Orange zested buns soaked in a syrup flavoured by orange, orange flower water, orange liqueur and honey. All this orange sounds like overload, but it remains incredibly subtle. It’s the layering of the orange that does it. It sneaks in from all angles, but quietly, politely. It’s neither harsh nor brazen.

There is the slightest waft of the exotic in the barely discernible, yet very present, orange flower water. The freshness of Triple Sec – the least cloying of all orange liqueurs – is always less predictable than rum. My addition of orange zest to the batter makes the flavour carry through more.

Then there’s the honey. Warm, sticky, rounded and familiar, increased in its intensity by the quantity of sugar backing it up. There’s nothing like a massive slug of sugar syrup to show honey for the complex substance it is.
If anything is worth baking in Summer, it is this. Provided you have no objection to the consumption of a minor quantity of alcohol being consumed by your/someone’s child, then I can assure you that kids, well, my kid, loves them. They’re a crowd pleaser and definitely something I would make for a picnic – especially as you store them in jars. How very cool, hip, lifestyle and Anthropologie.

- *pause for whittering* O.M.G., I heart Anthropologie. I have been gasping over their website for ever. Then I met my dearest friend Claire in London for the day, requested a trip there and she took me. She took me to Anthropologie. It was a moment that I will never forget. She even took my picture by the living wall. Thank God I had stopped squealing and hanging on to it.
I left my heart there. If I win the lottery, I’m off to Regent Street to empty my purse right there. Dump, clatter.
‘One of everything, please.’
‘Certainly Madam. I say! Are those sticky, honey, orange scented buns packed artistically, yet deceptively casually, into a kilner-type jar?’
‘Why, yes they are!’
‘Madam, you are one of us.’
‘I know, right? Totally fey and co-ol. Did you know I am wearing crocheted knickers with a lace trim?’
‘*gasp* Madam is perfect!’
*blush*

- End of wittering, come on back in.

Grease the wells of a 12-hole mini muffin tray and mini doughnut tray with cake release spray or brush with melted butter. I like making these small – it gives dieters (like me – 2 stone gone!) the chance to have just one and everyone else the chance to eat many – because they are small. Feel free to make them in normal muffin tins – it’s all good.

Start by mixing together the sugar, flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl until well combined. Add half (or 3/4 if half isn’t enough) of the beaten eggs,

then whisk using an electric whisk until the mixture is well combined and forms a sticky paste. Don’t be fretting about overworking it. We have barely begun beating the life out of it.

Gradually whisk in a little of the remaining beaten egg. When the egg is fully incorporated into the mixture, add 1-2 of the softened butter cubes and whisk in until fully incorporated into the mixture.


Whisk the remaining beaten egg and remaining butter cubes into the mixture in alternate turns, until the mixture comes together as a soft dough.

It will climb up the beaters repeatedly. Do try not to fling it against the wall. No, really. You may want to rage at it, swear at it, open the back door and hurl that mofo down to the end of the garden.
Don’t.

Be zen. It wants to climb, so it will climb. Calmly scrape it down and get on with it so this part ends quickly.

Add the grated zest and then, using a wooden spoon or a spatula (let’s see it climb up that. HA!), beat the dough until smooth.

Divide the dough mixture equally among the wells in the prepared muffin tray. What I mean by this is, scoop a teaspoon full of the stretchy batter and deposit it into each mini muffin well. For the mini doughnut tin (should you also have acquired one from TKMaxx), I knock the dough off the spoon with my little finger and curl it round the centre ‘stalk’.

Set aside in a warm place for 50-60 mins (I put mine in the airing cupboard), or until the buns have doubled in size and filled the wells in the tray. I sometimes just take them out after 60 mins regardless. I know this is bad, but I am being honest. £300 says I’m not alone.

Meanwhile, for the syrup, heat the caster sugar, orange rind and cold water in a pan over a low heat, stirring well. When the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil and continue to boil for 5, 7, maybe even 10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened slightly and resembles syrup. Don’t over-think it though- it thickens significantly once it’s been in the fridge.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the honey, orange liqueur and orange-flower water, until well combined. Set aside until cooled slightly.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

When the buns are proved and swollen,

bake them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until well risen and pale golden-brown. Swap the trays over in the oven after 5 mins. These buns have a real thing about burning. Watch them like a hawk. They WANT to burn. Catch them at that deep golden deliciousness stage.

Set aside to cool on a wire rack.

Pack the buns into two 1 litre/1¾ pints sterilised jars. Equally divide the syrup and set aside for 20 minutes

then cover the jar and seal tightly. I like to stand the jars on their heads for a while to give the top ones a good soaking before moving them to the fridge.

Incidentally, Valentine Warner says the buns can be kept in the fridge for up to one month.

The syrup doesn’t completely cover the buns, so I like to rotate them occasionally whilst they’re living in the fridge. I cannot overstate the extent to which these are saturated by the syrup, so don’t lose sleep over ‘the ones at the top being dry’. Ain’t never gonna happen, friend.

I serve them as is, but a swirl of whipped cream wouldn’t detract from the flavour…

 

 

Orangey honey buns (Valentine Warner’s recipe, fiddled with)

PRINT THIS RECIPE (opens in a new window)

(Original recipe here)

Buns

4 tsp caster sugar
150g plain flour
pinch sea salt flakes
1 x 7g sachet easy-blend dried yeast
3 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
75g butter, slightly softened, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
grated zest 1 orange

Syrup

500g caster sugar
1 orange, rind only, rind cut into long strips
500ml cold water
100g-150g clear honey (mine was a bit weak and feeble, so I upped it to 150g)
4 tbsp orange liqueur (I used Triple Sec)
1 tsp orange-flower water

whipped cream, to serve (optional)

Grease the wells of a 12-hole mini muffin tray and mini doughnut tray with Cake release spray.

Mix together the sugar, flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl until well combined. Add half (or 3/4) of the beaten eggs, then whisk using an electric whisk until the mixture is well combined and forms a sticky paste.

Gradually whisk in a little of the remaining beaten egg. When the egg is fully incorporated into the mixture, add 1-2 butter cubes and whisk in until fully incorporated into the mixture.
Whisk the remaining beaten egg and remaining butter cubes into the mixture in alternate turns, until the mixture comes together as a soft dough. It will climb up the beaters repeatedly. Do try not to fling it against the wall.
Add the grated zest and then, using a wooden spoon, beat the dough until smooth.

Divide the dough mixture equally among the wells in the prepared muffin tray. Set aside in a warm place for 50-60 mins, or until the buns have doubled in size and filled the wells in the tray.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

When the buns are swollen, bake them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until well risen and pale golden-brown. Swap the trays over in the oven after 5 mins. These buns have a real thing about burning. Watch them like a hawk.
Set aside to cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, for the syrup, heat the sugar, orange rind and cold water in a pan over a low heat, stirring well. When the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil and continue to boil for 5, 7, maybe even 10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened slightly and resembles syrup. Don’t over-think it – it thickens significantly once it’s been in the fridge.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the honey, orange liqueur and orange-flower water, until well combined. Set aside until cooled slightly.

Pack the buns into two 1 litre/1¾ pints sterilised jars. Equally divide the syrup and set aside for 20 minutes, then cover the jar and seal tightly. The buns can be kept in the fridge for up to one month.

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6 Responses to “Orangey Honey Buns”

  1. OH OOOH YES YES YES Please please keep a jar (OK at least one, maybe two)for me. I need a bib to stop me drooling on my sweater.

  2. I love the look of these – actually I love any cake-like substance in alcohol. The classic rum sauce can be a bit unforgiving, so I often use lemon instead. This orange syrup sounds wonderful, though.

  3. Kara says:

    OH …MY…GOD! These look more than divine – will have to gather the odd missing ingredient and give these a go. Thank you from the bottom of my butt …or not perhaps…my wasitline really is wide enough thanks. xxxx

  4. Anna says:

    Glad we have orangey honey bun fans in the house! All hail the Honey bun :)

  5. Kara Nagle says:

    They taste stunning!!!!!!! Thank you – love your work doll! xxxx

  6. Muriel says:

    hello!
    They look amazing!! i want one right now!

    Greetings from Uruguay!

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