This is one of the final recipes Chris Holister shared with us on our team baking day, and I thought it was too perfect for this chillier autumn weather not to share. You can make the buns with either cinnamon or cardamom, and you can be reasonably generous with the spices when you apply them to the dough.
These are best eaten when still slightly warm and on the day of making, but will keep for up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Makes eight buns
Weigh the ingredients for the flying sponge into a mixing bowl and beat by hand until creamy, then cover and set aside for 45 minutes in a draft-free place.
Once the sponge has doubled in size, weigh out the remaining ingredients for the buns into your mixing bowl, along with the sponge. Bring the ingredients together by hand, and then turn out and knead on your work surface for approximately 10 minutes, until you have a silky dough (it will feel sticky to begin with, but transforms during the kneading process). Place your dough back in the bowl, cover, and prove for 45 minutes in a warm, draft-free place.
Lightly flour your work surface and turn your dough out on to it. Using a rolling pin, roll it into a rectangle of roughly 40cm x 50cm.
Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter for brushing the dough with over a low heat. When it is liquid, brush the dough with it using a pastry brush – you just need enough for the sugar and spices to stick. Liberally sprinkle your cinnamon or cardamom and sugar over the dough for a good strength of flavour.
Fold the top section of the dough one third down, and then the bottom of the dough one third up. Lightly roll over this using your rolling pin to seal it. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into eight strips.
To shape each bun, wrap the strip of dough horizontally twice around two fingers. Then bring the remainder of the strip vertically up over the top of the sections that are wrapped around your fingers, and tuck the loose end of the strip up into the bottom. Carefully remove from your fingers. Alternatively, you can twirl each strip and then curl them into spirals.
Place your buns on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, cover, and prove in a warm and draft free place for 1-1.5 hours. When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180°C. Bake the buns for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is cooked through.
Once out of the oven, place your buns on a rack to cool, and make your icing sugar. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, and then beat in the boiling water until it reaches the consistency you desire. You can either brush the buns with a thin mix of icing sugar and water using a pastry brush, or simply drizzle it with a thicker mix – adapt the amount of water you use for the effect that you want from the decoration. Leave the icing to set, and then enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee!