Morning buns

Morning buns

By
From
The Tivoli Road Baker
Photographer
Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

Morning buns look amazing, and always attract attention. The gentle notes of cinnamon and orange sugar rolled into the pastry infuse each mouthful. The vanilla custard fills the centre and provides creamy contrast to the flakiness of the pastry.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

Morning bun sugar

Quantity Ingredient
zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar

Morning buns

Quantity Ingredient
50g butter, for greasing
1/2 cup caster (superfine) sugar, for lining trays and finishing the buns
1 quantity Croissant pastry
1/2 quantity see method for ingredients

Method

  1. To make the morning bun sugar, place all the ingredients in a small bowl, and mix well.
  2. Prepare a 12-hole muffin tray to bake the pastries in. Soften the butter and brush the sides and base of each muffin well. Sprinkle over the caster sugar to coat, shaking off any excess sugar. Set aside the remaining caster sugar in a bowl, to dust the buns once baked. Place 1 teaspoon of morning bun sugar in each well, spreading it out to cover the base.
  3. Roll your rested croissant pastry out into a rectangle roughly 20 × 60 cm (8 × 24 in) and about 8 mm (¼ in) thick, with the long edge towards you.
  4. Trim all the edges to create a neat rectangle, then use a spatula to spread a thin layer of custard over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1 cm (½ in) border along the bottom edge. Reserve the rest of the custard for finishing the pastries after baking.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining morning bun sugar over the pastry sheet, ensuring that the surface is covered in a thin, even layer of sugar.
  6. Starting from the top edge of your dough sheet, roll the pastry firmly and evenly towards you, being careful not to stretch the pastry, as this will make the dough too tight and affect the final shape of your buns. When you’ve finished rolling you should have a long cylinder with a spiral of sugar running through the middle and the seam on the bench, underneath.
  7. Use a bread knife to trim the ends of the roll, and slice the rest into 12 even pieces (approx. 4 cm/1½ in wide). Sit each piece in a well of your prepared muffin tin, with the spiral visible from the top.
  8. Lightly cover the trays with plastic wrap and leave them in a warm place (ideally 22–26°C/72–79°F) to rise. At the bakery we have the luxury of a prover/ retarder that provides the ideal conditions for proving pastries, but when I’m at home I gauge the weather and adjust my method accordingly. On a cool day, you can use your oven as a proving box by placing a roasting pan filled with boiling water at the bottom and leaving it for about 5 minutes, to create steam. Once the oven is slightly warm, place the tray of morning buns (still lightly covered in plastic wrap) in to prove. On a warm day you can just leave them lightly covered on a bench to prove.
  9. Preheat the oven to 190°C (370°F) and place a clean, rimmed tray on the bottom shelf, to catch any drips.
  10. Place your tray of buns on the middle shelf of the oven, then reduce the oven temperature to 170°C (340°F) and bake for 20 minutes.
  11. Check on the buns to see that they’re not colouring too quickly, then turn the tray and bake for a further 10–15 minutes, until golden and flaky. Tip the buns out onto a wire cooling rack, being careful to avoid the caramelised sugar on the base, which will be extremely hot. Carefully position the buns so that they’re sitting caramel-side-up and leave them to cool.
  12. Once cool, dust the buns with the remaining caster sugar, to coat. Pipe or spoon a small amount of vanilla custard into the centre of each bun to finish.

Bakery notes

  • A good tip is to leave the buns in the muffin tray for a minute or two after baking to allow the caramelised sugar to properly coat the pastry, then carefully tip them onto a wire rack so the sugar can cool and harden, giving you a nice caramel crust on top. If you leave them too long, the caramel will set and the pastries will get stuck. If this happens, return the pan to the oven or a hot surface to heat just enough to melt the sugar again.
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