So I’m on half term this week and it thus seems the perfect opportunity to work on good breakfast food. Like these buns. But obviously, with my inability to get up much before 10am, they’re more like mid-afternoon buns. But I think that’s okay. Half term only comes around once every six weeks and you should be able to take advantage of long lie-ins and small amounts of relaxation, shouldn’t you?
I’ve had these buns on my list of things to do for ages. The recipe comes from Baked Elements, which I love and am slightly obsessed with. And Smitten Kitchen wrote about them too. But both make these buns in a standing mixer, which I don’t have, so I wanted to see if I could make them by hand. It turns out you totally can although it is a sticky, messy job. But it’s totally worth it. These buns actually smell of autumn but you’ll forgive me for doing them now, when it feels like spring has sprung – after all, a cinnamon bun is good at any time of year, right?
I didn’t do that much adapting of the actual recipe – I used soft brown sugar because I didn’t have granulated (I almost never have granulated sugar around); I also used active dry yeast which you need to reactivate in the warm milk. I left out the ground cardamom because, despite going into every possibly grocery store, I have not been able to find any and grinding my own cardamom feels like a step too far. I made it with the recommended amount of ground cloves but I truly feel there could be less so I’ve only put 1/8 of a teaspoon on the recipe for the filling below. I also changed the frosting, using golden icing sugar (so my icing was golden and not bright white) and using half the amount of cream cheese. And obviously I changed up the method, which I’ll explain below. The result are soft, sticky buns that you’d like to eat in one sitting but common sense prevails upon you to share. Next time I think I might try them with butternut and see how that goes.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns
Adapted from Baked Elements
3 1/2 cups of white bread flour
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp dried active yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
90g butter, soft
2/3 cup whole milk
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
Line the bottom of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking paper. Grease the baking paper and then flour it, knocking out any excess flour. Set aside. Measure the flour, sugars, salt, and spices into a large bowl. Heat the milk for about 30 seconds in a microwave, until it is just warmed through (and neither cold nor hot). Stir the yeast into the milk and set aside until it becomes foamy. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s incorporated (it won’t resemble bread crumbs or anything but just make sure it’s been nicely mixed together).
Once the yeast/milk mixture is foamy, add to the bowl along with the egg, slightly beaten and the pumpkin puree. Use a wooden spoon to mix everything together and once it becomes impossible to do any more stirring, bring the dough together with your hands. It is incredibly sticky but the idea is just to form it into a dough, knead it lightly and then form it into a ball and place it in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 45 minutes, until it doubles in size. (I find the oven works best for this.)
In the meantime, make the filling:
3/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 tsp
1/4 tsp sea salt
Melt the butter and mix all the other ingredients together. Add the butter to these and stir until everything is incorporated. Set aside.
Once your dough has doubled in size, knock it back and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to resemble a rectangle, about 1/2cm thick. Melt another 30g butter and brush the rectangle with about half of it. Sprinkle the filling on and then press it lightly with your hands. Roll the long side away from you to form a log, keeping the final seam underneath the log. Slice the ends off (my ends tend to be just dough, no filling) and then slice into 10 portions. (I divided the dough in half and each half into five. Amazing maths skills, I know.)
Place the buns into the cake tin, brush with the last of the butter, and then cover the tin with clingfilm and prove again for 45 minutes. The buns should double in size. Preheat the oven to 180C (if you’re proving your buns in there, please remove them before switching it on) and bake the buns for about 35 minutes, until they’re golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and glaze immediately.
30g cream cheese
2 tbsp buttermilk
1 1/4 cup golden icing sugar
Whisk the cream cheese and buttermilk until smooth. Then whisk in the icing sugar. Pour generously over the buns when they’re still hot. Eat warm…