I have written and re-written this first wee bit of my post. Nothing I can seem to think of even comes close to how I am feeling right now - a very weird mixture of feelings. Huge sorrow for the Muslim Community back in New Zealand is the main one. I am just so, so sorry that these people came to New Zealand seeking safety, and we weren’t able to provide that. New Zealand is their home just as much as it is mine. There is also a sense of pride and hope - seeing how our leader has reacted, and seeing the country band together to support a community always reminds me why I am so proud to come from the country that I do. I really do hope that tragic events like this cause our country and the rest of the world to take a good hard look at the underlying racism and white supremacy issue that is so, so prevalent in New Zealand, whether we like it or not. We are ALL responsible for moving forward and for taking responsibility, and to stand in solidarity and unity to provide support to those whose rights may be in more danger than our own. We are all human, we all deserve to have the same rights. I believe speaking up is much more important than staying silent - even if it is just my voice adding to the chorus of people showing support. This isn’t about how we are affected individually - it is how we are going to unite as a whole to provide support.
Once again, I turn to food as my way of showing love and support. Today’s recipe is one that I made a while back - it is a riff on a recipe from one of my favourite books, Making Chocolate, which is from the makers of Dandelion Chocolate, an amazing small batch chocolate factory in San Francisco. They released their book last year, and I have been slowly making my way through it - each recipe I make seems to quickly become a new favourite (the chocolate spread I seem to put into everything is from this book!).
I had been eyeing their cocoa nib buns up for a long time, and when I finally got around to making them, I couldn’t help but riff on them slightly. I stuck to my theory of “if you can infuse it, you can add earl grey to it”, and as per usual, it worked out very, very well. I added ground earl grey tea leaves to the dough, then infused the gooey chocolate custard filling with earl grey, which is then covered with a cocoa nib and brown sugar mixture, before being rolled up and cut into buns. These are made in a muffin tin, which causes the top to pop out slightly as they are baking, which makes them super cute. The chocolate custard filling bakes up to be gooey and perfect, with a lovely crunch from the cocoa nibs. The buns are then brushed with butter, and, while still slightly warm, rolled in a cocoa nib and earl grey sugar. The result is one of the most decadent, delicious buns I have ever had - I am obsessed with the chocolate custard filling, and the perfect spiral on these wee things.
A few wee tips:
The Dough needs an overnight rise, and the custard ideally needs to cool overnight, which makes these the perfect breakfast pastry.
Good quality chocolate is super important here - I used a 70% bar, which I chopped up.
If Earl Grey isn’t your thing, you can leave out the tea in the dough, and skip the infusing step custard and just use 150g of whole milk. Leave the tea out of the finishing sugar, and add 4 teaspoons of cinnamon.
Earl Grey Buns with Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Nib Filling
- Makes about 9 buns -
Recipe adapted from ‘Making Chocolate’ by Dandelion Chocolate
3g (1 tsp) active dried yeast
42g (3 Tbsp) Sugar
110g (1/2 cup) warm water
1 large egg
110g (1/2 cup) heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
385g (2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
5g loose leaf earl grey tea, finely ground
3 Tbsp Unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate Earl Grey Custard Filling
220g whole milk
10g loose leaf earl grey tea
115g chopped 70% chocolate
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
Cocoa Nib Filling
110g (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
60g (1/2 cup) cocoa nibs
Earl Grey Sugar
30g (1/4 cup) cocoa nibs
pinch of salt
5g loose leaf tea
- PROCESS -
Place the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a medium sized bowl, and stir to combine. Leave for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, and vanilla bean paste.
Place the flour, salt, and earl grey tea in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the yeast and water mixture, the cream and egg mixture, and the melted butter, and mix on low until the dough comes together.
Increase the mixer speed and mix on medium for 8-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulling away from the edges of the bowl.
Remove the dough from the bowl, shape into a ball, and then lightly grease either the mixing bowl, or a large bowl, and place the ball of dough in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise overnight in the fridge.
CHOCOLATE EARL GREY CUSTARD
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to just shy of a simmer. Add the loose leaf tea, cover, and steep for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a spoon to get as much flavour as possible from the tea. Clean the saucepan, then re-weigh the milk and top up to 150g if needed. Warm again to just shy of a simmer.
Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler, or in 30 second increments in the microwave. Set aside.. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt.
Add about half of the hot earl grey milk mixture to the egg mix, whisking constantly. Whisk until smooth, then return to the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove the milk mixture from the heat and pour over the melted chocolate, whisking to combine, and finishing with an immersion blender if needed.
Place in an airtight container and press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the custard. Place in the fridge to chill overnight.
Lightly grease a muffin pan with butter or non stick cooking spray. Combine the light brown sugar and cocoa nibs in a medium bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a rectangle 13”x18” (33x45cm).
Spread the cooled chocolate custard evenly over the surface of the custard using an offset spatula. Sprinkle with the sugar and cocoa nib mixture, and press down lightly to adhere.
Starting at a long end, roll the dough up into a tight spiral log. Cut into 2” pieces using a sharp knife. Place each piece into a cavity in the muffin pan.
Lightly cover the muffin pan with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place to rise for 30 to 45 minutes. While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c.
Once the buns are risen, bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan once to ensure even browning.
While the buns are baking, place the cocoa nibs and loose leaf tea in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Sift through a strainer, and then combine the sifted mixture with the sugar and salt.
Remove the baked buns from the oven, and allow to stand for 10 minutes, then remove from the muffin tin. Brush each all over with melted butter, then roll in the cocoa earl grey sugar.
Serve immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container.