Hot Cross Bun Morning Buns


 
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.

Happy Easter! I have spent today googling why it's not a public holiday here in the States (or is it? I usually judge this by whether spin class is on or not), eating the easter eggs that didn't make it into the cookie box that I didn't make, and sitting on my butt in front of the kitten's cage, trying to help socialise poor miss bunny. She's the shyest kitten I've come across in a very, very long time, but we are slowly starting to get there. She hasn't bitten me in a few days, so I'm going to take that as a small win. 

I've had these swimming around my head for a while - they were meant to be the product of a baking day a few weeks back, but we got snowed off. I haven't been able to stop thinking about them, and so they had to happen. I've been meaning to make morning buns for the longest time, and after having some success with making my own puff pastry, I figured giving yeasted laminated dough couldn't be too tricky. The actual laminating of the dough wasn't too bad, but it did take a few tries to get the right dimensions to shape these into nice little buns. I ended up testing these three times, which was fairly labour intensive, but the good news there is that I did all the work for you, and now you just get to make them once, without exploding a whole tray of laminated dough all over the floor of your oven. Don't ask. 

I figured seeing as it's easter time, I would go with some hot cross bun inspired morning buns. I started with Erin Mcdowell's dough recipe, and then spiced both the yeasted dough and the butter block for the lamination. Once I had finished my rolling and folding process, I rolled the dough out thinly, filled it with a spiced sugar, currants, and raisins, and then rolled it up into a swirly sausage, similar to how you would roll a cinnamon bun. They were then chopped up, and loaded into a sugar lined muffin tin, before being baked off. As laminated dough is baked, all the layers created with the butter get steamy, creating an amazingly flaky finished product, that shatters as you bite into it. Although I was extremely happy with how they looked when they came out of the oven, they aren't hot cross buns without a cross - so I gave them a quick mascarpone vanilla bean cross, which turned out to be a delicious addition. These would be perfect for Easter, but I would happily eat them all year round too. Do consider making your own laminated dough - once you get the hang of it, it is fairly easy, and a lot of fun!

A few wee tips:

  • A thermometer will be very helpful here - you want to make sure that the dough and the butter block are the same temperature before you start your lamination process. I use a digital probe thermometer, and I love it.
  • A scale is also helpful. Grams for life. 
  • Temperature is key! After a few turns you do start to get the hang of things, and you can tell when the dough is a good temperature to do a fold. If it is hard to roll out you can leave it at room temp for a while, and if the butter is melting at the surface, it may need a little more time in the fridge. 
  • If you can't find mixed spice, you can easily make your own - I used this recipe, omitting the mace
  • The dough for the buns needs to be made the night before, for an overnight chill. 
  • This does make quite a few - you can freeze them once they are rolled up and sliced into buns, - when you are ready to bake, leave them to defrost in the fridge, then rise and bake off as directed. Make sure you store them in a ziploc bag or something airtight to ensure they don't take on the taste of your freezer. 
 

 

Hot Cross Bun Morning Buns

- Makes about 24 -

Dough recipe adapted from Erin Mcdowell, via Food52

Dough
567g (4 3/4 cups) Bread Flour
71g unsalted butter, at room temperature
14g (1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp) instant yeast
2 1/2 tsp salt
360g (360ml) whole milk, cold
1 Tbsp Vanilla bean paste
2 1/2 tsp mixed spice
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Butter Block
455g (1 lb, or 4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
71g bread flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Filling
113g (one stick) unsalted butter, melted
135g (2/3 cup) brown sugar
135g (2/3 cup) white sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
150g dried raisins
70g dried currants

Mascarpone Icing (for the crosses)
One 225g (8oz) container of mascarpone, cold
63g (1/2 cup) icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
 

- PROCESS -

BREAD DOUGH

Place all of the ingredients into a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, then increase the speed to medium, and mix for a further 4 minutes, until the dough is smooth. Place into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight.

LAMINATING THE DOUGH

To make the butter block, combine the butter, bread flour, vanilla bean paste, mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl, and mix until well combined. On a 13" x 18" piece of parchment paper, spread the butter into a 6" x 9" rectangle that is approximately 1/2" thick, using an offset spatula to square off the edges. Fold the remaining parchment paper down, using a bench scraper to square off the edges again (very square butter is very helpful!). Place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, until it is between 60˚f and 70˚f (15˚c to 20˚c). 

Once it has reached the ideal temperature, bring both the butter block and the dough out of the fridge. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a rectangle approximately 12" x 10". Place the butter block on the bottom half of the dough (you should have about half an inch space around the edges), and fold over the dough to 'lock' in the butter, pressing down the edges to seal it in. Tuck any excess underneath. Wrap in plastic wrap, place on the baking sheet, and rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. 

Remove the dough from the fridge. You are now going to begin the folding process. You will do a four fold, a three fold, a four fold, and another three fold.

Turn #1: 4-fold

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 13" x 18" rectangle, using a bench scraper to keep the edges tightly squared off. Turn the dough so a long edge is facing you. Take the left edge of the dough, and fold 3/4 of the way across the dough, lining up the edges. Fold the right edge to meet the left, about 1/4 of the way across. Fold the dough in half, left side over right. Transfer to the baking sheet, brush off extra flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Rest for another 30 minutes.

Turn #2: 3-fold

Remove the dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, repeat the rolling process - roll to 13" x 19", and square the edges. Turn so a long edge is facing you. Fold the left side of the dough 1/3 of the way across, then fold the right side of the dough over the left (so you have 3 layers of dough). Place on the baking sheet, brush off flour, cover and refrigerate. Rest for 30 minutes.

Turn #3: 4-fold

Repeat the process for a 4-fold as explained above, taking care to square the edges. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.

Turn #4: 3-fold

This is your final fold. Roll out, square off, and repeat the instructions for a 3-fold above. Cover, and rest for 30 minutes. 

ASSEMBLY AND BAKING

Remove the dough from the fridge, and divide in half. Wrap one half tightly in plastic and leave in the fridge while you work with the first half. Brush two 12-hole muffin tins with melted butter, and dust with sugar, tapping out the excess. Combine the sugars, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. In a second bowl, combine the raisins and currants.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one half of the dough to a rectangle 12" x 24". Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with half of the sugar mixture, pressing down to adhere. Sprinkle with half of the raisins and currants. Starting with a long end, roll up into a tight spiralled log. Cut into 12 equal pieces using a bread knife (approx 1 1/2" width each), and place each bun into a cavity in the prepared muffin tin. Loosely cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with the second half of dough. 

Place the buns in a warm place for 40-50 minutes, until they have risen slightly and are puffy. When you press lightly, your finger should leave an indent that bounces back very slightly. Preheat the oven to 365˚f / 185˚c.

Bake the buns for 25-35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven, and turn out the buns onto a wire rack. Dust with additional sugar. Place on the rack to cool. 

MASCARPONE CROSSES

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat all the ingredients together until smooth and fluffy. Transfer to a small piping bag fitted with a medium sized round piping tip, or a piping bag or ziploc bag with the end snipped off. Pipe a cross on each bun. 

These buns are best eaten the day that they are made. If desired, rewarm slightly before eating. Store leftovers in an airtight container. 

 

Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.

Chelsea Buns (Custard and Raisin Brioche buns), plus exciting news!


 
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun. #chelseabun #custardbun #custardandraisin #brioche #vanillafrosting #custardscroll
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun. #chelseabun #custardbun #custardandraisin #brioche #vanillafrosting #custardscroll
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun. #chelseabun #custardbun #custardandraisin #brioche #vanillafrosting #custardscroll
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun. #chelseabun #custardbun #custardandraisin #brioche #vanillafrosting #custardscroll
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun. #chelseabun #custardbun #custardandraisin #brioche #vanillafrosting #custardscroll
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun. #chelseabun #custardbun #custardandraisin #brioche #vanillafrosting #custardscroll
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun. #chelseabun #custardbun #custardandraisin #brioche #vanillafrosting #custardscroll
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun. #chelseabun #custardbun #custardandraisin #brioche #vanillafrosting #custardscroll

So I have some exciting news that I have been busting to share for the last week or so - I have been nominated as a finalist in the "best baking and sweets" category for the Saveur Blog Awards!  I've been the worst excited person ever to be around for the last week - this morning I could hardly wait and ended up so excited that I got stressed and lost it at Rich over literally nothing, and ended up standing in the kitchen in tears holding an egg. Everything still seems a little surreal at the moment - I never once imagined that after starting a little corner of the internet where I share my food just over a year ago, I would be nominated for something like this! I am insanely grateful - thank you so, so much to everyone who nominated, follows along, and provides support! I don't have enough words to express how thankful I am! The awards are taking place in Charleston at the start of October - and you can vote for your favourites. You can vote as many times as you like over on Saveur's website, so I would be extremely grateful if you told your friends / family / coworkers / everyone you've ever met in the world that they can vote too! 

I created this little space as a way for me to have somewhere to express me. I needed something that was just mine, that I could work on as my own little project as somewhat of a coping mechanism for negotiating this crazy city that we live in, which is polar opposite to little old New Zealand that I was so comfortable and used to. Making food has always provided me with comfort, but there is something about making it to share with others that really hits home for me - it draws on how I grew up, in a household full of friends and family, and if I can replicate that wherever I go, I can bring a little bit of home with me always. What I didn't expect was for it to grow into this amazing thing, which I am so, so excited to work on every day. Not only that, but the incredible people of the food community that I have met along the way are the biggest bonus ever - I can honestly say I have met some lifelong friends. 

And what better way to celebrate than with something that is a nod to where it all came from - a recipe from home. We call these "chelsea buns" and for us they were the ultimate bribe for making it through a supermarket trip with mum without standing up in the trolley. Essentially they are a brioche dough, spread with a custard/pastry cream, then sprinkled with some brown sugar and raisins, before being rolled up tightly and cut into slices - just like cinnamon buns. Once out of the oven they are glazed with a super icing, and they are ready to go. The combination of custard and raisins mixed with the fluffy bread dough is enough to transport me straight back to childhood - sitting in the back of the car with my arms straight out, forbidden to touch anything with my sticky fingers. From memory there were also another variation of chelsea buns which were more similar to a cinnamon bun but with raisins, but I always far preferred the custard version. 

These aren't your standard Cinnamon rolls. These are something that will make you never look at cinnamon rolls the same way again. Getting this recipe right was a little tricky - it took five tries and one oven filled with overflowed brioche dough before I finally came up with something I was happy with. Because the custard adds moisture, the sugar in the filling can't be added the regular way mixed with butter and spread on, because it creates too much moisture and the buns collapse. Sprinkling the sugar on with the raisins seemed to work best! These are amazing straight out of the oven, and the leftovers are also lovely zapped in the microwave to warm them up slightly. Good luck with them lasting longer than a day though. 

This is also the second recipe in a wee mini series I am doing of recipe variations on one brioche dough recipe - the first, black bean burgers, is here

A few wee notes:

  • After five batches of custard, I ended up using custard powder in the pastry cream / custard. If you don't have any custard powder you can substitute corn starch, although I recommend getting custard powder if you can! The flavour it gives was exactly what I was looking for - just the way that custard tasted growing up. You want to cook the custard until it is very thick, so that it spreads nicely on the dough. 
  • I use a brioche dough that can be made and baked on the same day, but if you wanted to prepare this ahead of time, you could make the dough and custard the day before, and do the first rise in the fridge overnight, then assemble the buns the next day just before baking. Chilled dough is actually much easier to roll out!
  • Sometimes it is a little hard to tell with buns etc when they are cooked, because the filling can cause the tops to go golden before they are done. I like to check the internal temperature using a thermometer - it should be around 200˚f / 95˚c for enriched dough. I have a thermometer with a cord on it and a little probe, and it's the best thing ever (plus it has an alarm which is super handy for people like me who walk away while things are cooking)
 

 

Chelsea Buns (Custard and Raisin Brioche Buns)

- Makes 12 large buns -

Pastry cream recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery

Brioche Dough
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup (240ml) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp sugar
3 3/4 cups (565g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
 

Custard / Pastry Cream filling
132g (1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp) egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
110g (1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp) sugar
50 grams (6 tbsp) custard powder
550g (2 cups plus 3 Tbsp) whole milk

Filling
3/4 cup (150g) soft brown sugar
1/2 cup (85g) raisins

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

Glaze
2 1/2 cups (315g) powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp whole milk
 

- PROCESS -

BRIOCHE DOUGH

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth. 

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. 

CUSTARD

In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and custard powder in a bowl. 

In a medium pot, warm the milk and vanilla paste until there is movement just around the edges of the milk - do not bring it to the boil. 

Remove the milk from the heat, and, whisking constantly, add half of the milk mixture into the egg and cornflour mixture to temper the egg yolks. Whisk briskly for 30 seconds. Transfer the milk-yolk mixture back to the pot, and return to a medium heat. Whisk constantly until very thick. 

Strain the custard through a mesh sieve, and into a bowl. Cool to room temperature then place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pastry cream to prevent a skin. Place in the fridge until completely cooled. If you are in a rush, place the bowl of water in an ice bath to speed up the cooling process

ASSEMBLY AND BAKING

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" baking dish.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a 24" x 18" (60cm x 45cm) rectangle. If you find your dough is resisting being rolled out, stop and let it relax for about 15 minutes before continuing to roll. 

Using an offset spatula, spread the cooled custard evenly over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and raisins. Starting with the long edge, carefully roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 12 equally sized slices, and arrange in the baking dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm place until they have risen slightly, and have gone a little puffy.

Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the bread is cooked through and the top is golden. (internal temp 200˚f) Tent with foil after 20 minutes if the buns seem to be browning too quickly. Check for doneness after 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. While they are cooling, mix the sifted powdered sugar and 3 Tbsp of the milk in a medium bowl, adding extra milk a teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Spread over the buns using an offset spatula while they are still warm. 

Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers are best eaten the day of, or the day after baking.

Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun. #chelseabun #custardbun #custardandraisin #brioche #vanillafrosting #custardscroll