Monday, 4 August 2014

Blackberry Buns 'O' Fun

Baking can be refined, baking can be sophisticated and baking can be complex. But for me baking is at its best when it is frivolous, fanciful and downright fun. To bake is to leave your serious side at the door, to embrace your inner rascal and the to let your mischievous side run riot. These buns 'o' fun are so brazenly naughty that they border on the farcical and are actually somewhat of a challenge to describe. Sitting somewhere between a doughnut and a sweet bread, but with a few tart blackberries and white chocolate thrown in (just because), they may not be particularly wholesome, but they are downright delicious. More importantly though they are such fun to make and always raise a smile when served, well if you can bring yourself to share that is!

Prep time: 30 Mins (Plus some proving time)
Baking time: 20-25 Mins
7g Sachet of Fast Action Yeast
1/2tsp Caster Sugar
170ml Tepid Water
250g Strong White Bread Flour
1/2tsp Salt

25g Unsalted Butter
50g Lard (At room temperature)
50g Caster Sugar

100g White Chocolate (Finely Chopped)
150g Fresh Blackberries

Off we go! In a large bowl add the yeast, 1/2tsp of caster sugar and water. Mix until the yeast starts to dissolve, then add the flour and salt. Bring together to a loose dough then tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, stretching the dough, folding it back on itself and repeating. You can re-dust your surface if the dough is too sticky, but try to avoid adding too much if you can. When the dough is smooth and elastic place into a clean bowl lightly dusted with flour, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for around 75 minutes, until doubled in sized.

Time for some greasing. Grease a flat, dry surface, lightly grease a rolling pin and (you've guessed it) grease a 12 cup muffin tray. Tip the risen dough out onto your greased surface and roll to a large, flat rectangle. Take the 25g of unsalted butter, add 15g of the lard and melt (I do this in the microwave). Brush the melted butter/lard over the rolled dough, then scatter over the white chocolate. Roll up into a big sausage, then slice into twelve rounds and place into your muffin tray. Press a few blackberries into the middle of each round, then loosely re-cover with your tea towel and leave in the kitchen for a further 15 minutes. At the same time preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Carefully remove the damp tea towel. Dot a few little blobs of the leftover lard onto the top of each risen bun, sprinkle generously with sugar then bake in the centre of the oven for around 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. When you are happy they are baked remove from the oven and carefully coax each bun from its cup. Now you can serve these cold (they even keep well overnight) but I find them near irresistible straight from the oven. Over to you!

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