April 25th, 2010

Cinnamon Orange Blossom Honey Buns

I have had the baking bug again today. Actually I can say this proudly that I haven’t enjoyed cooking for such a long time, as much I have in the last two days. I felt as if I were in the restaurant again, working away filleting fish, making delicious fish velouté, red wine jus, steaming cockles and plenty of other jobs that I really enjoyed doing when I was still working in the restaurants. I never thought I would say I missed it, but I honestly did.

This time of the year when the days are getting longer and there is more light I feel more alive and have more energy to do lots.  Easter is approaching and I have had my fair share of Easter buns  but then I can never get enough of these.

Last month I bought two freshly baked Chelsea buns at Great Garnets farmers market from an old lady and gent who bake bread and buns in their kitchen at home. I was gobsmacked as they were both of  retiring age and I could not believe that they were baking so much for a farmers market. Once we arrived back home we enjoyed the Chelsea buns, slightly warmed, with a cup of tea. When I took the first bite I gasped as it was the most delicious Chelsea bun that I have ever tasted. It was feather light, moist, the glaze was just right not too sweet and just simply memorably delicious.

I analysed the buns and was wondering if she had used suet as they where incredibly light. I was on a mission looking for the perfect recipe and must have paged through at least 18 bakery cookbooks and scoured the web but not even Dan Lepard’s bun recipe came close. Not one suggested using suet so I set off working on my own recipe, trying to recreate the taste and feather lightness of those Great Garnets buns.

So I have been pondering for a month on how to replicate these incredibly delicious Chelsea buns, and yes it took a month before I felt I had the right ammunition and knowledge to attempt the baking challenge.

Well the results were absolutely fantastic!!! Feather light, moist and simply delicious!!!

I had to add my own twist and as I love both cinnamon and Chelsea buns I thought I should combine the two and add my own addition of orange and blossom honey. Even though this is not close to the traditional hot cross bun it makes a well deserved alternative, perfect for breakfast and the spring picnic basket.

Sweet Dough

  • 525g strong bread flour
  • 150g vegetable suet
  • 30g fresh yeast or 14g dried yeast (do not use fast action yeast)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50g melted unsalted butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 medium free range egg
  • 350ml milk

In a small saucepan melt the butter, turn the heat off and add the milk to the saucepan, let the milk warm through to blood temperature.

In a food processor blend half the flour, yeast and vegetable suet until the suet is completely broken down as fine as the flour. I used my thermomix and blended it on speed 10 for 20 seconds, but any blender will do. I found that the suet does not completely break down if you do not do this.

Transfer the flour, suet and yeast mix to the bowl of a mixer, add the rest of the flour, salt and sugar, attach the dough hook and turn the machine on to run at a low speed.

Add the warm milk and butter mixture and mix until a dough forms, add the egg and knead the dough for 6 minutes. The dough will be very soft and you might think it's too wet but it's perfectly fine, do not add extra flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and work the dough into a ball with a smooth top. Place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean dry tea towel or clingfilm, leave the dough to prove until double in size. Mine took 1 1/2 hours today (in the summer it should prove slightly faster).

While the dough is proving make the filling and continue following the method below.

Sultana and Cinnamon Filling

  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 100g dark muscavado sugar
  • 4tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g golden sultanas soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
  • Zest of one orange

Cream the sugar, cinnamon and butter, if the butter is hard, soften  for 10 seconds in the microwave.

Soak the sultanas in boiling hot water for 10 minutes, drain and squeeze to remove the excess water.

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, use your fingers to spread the dough evenly into a rectangular shape. You could use a rolling pin if preferred, I do not like using the rolling pin as it compresses the dough and it looses it's lightness and puffiness.

Spread the softened cinnamon filling over the rectangular dough, scatter the drained soaked sultanas and grate over the zest of one orange.

Roll the dough up like a Swiss roll, dip a serrated knife into flour and cut through the sausage into 9 pieces.

Place the buns cut side flat onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, cover with a clean dry tea towel and leave to prove until double in size.

Preheat the oven to  200 °C while the buns are proving for the second time, this should take about 20 - 30 minutes.

Bake the buns for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, if they turn dark brown before the time is up place a piece of foil over the top to prevent the buns from turning too dark.

While the buns are baking make the orange blossom honey glaze.

Orange Blossom Honey Glaze

  • 200ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 50g blossom honey
  • 2tbs smooth orange marmalade

Measure all the ingredients into a small saucepan.

Over low heat melt the marmalade and honey and bring the juice to a gentle simmer until reduced by half. The glaze will become shiny and sticky, do not reduce it too far as it should still be of pouring consistency.

Once the buns are cooked let them cool for 10 minutes, use a knife to loosen them by their joints to form gaps for the glaze to run into. Bring the glaze back to boiling point and pour the hot glaze over the buns.

Let the buns cool completely.

Serves 9

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19 Comments to “Cinnamon Orange Blossom Honey Buns”

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  1. Nice photo, we’ve just baked a giant cinnamon roll/Chelsea bun and I’m wondering if I have the will-power to leave it untouched till the morning so I can take a pic of it!

    have you heard of Parliamentary buns? Someone on a local blog here in SE London asked if I knew what they were. I don’t…

  2. Rick says:

    Just made these for the second time, and for the second time they’ve come out perfect!

    I once bought some “Honey Buns” in an obscure welsh bakery whilst on holiday, and they were fantastic, so ever since i’ve been looking for a recreation of the dough, and this is the closest i’ve come.

    Perfectly easy to make by hand (although i did use a stick blender to get the flour and suet to break down together similar to above), and beautifully light. I used fast action dried yeast this time as that was all i had – 1 sachet worked perfectly for above quantities.

    To make these into as close an approximation to my “Welsh honey bun” experienece as i could, I made the dough exactly the same as above, but then used the following for the filling:

    125g unsalted butter, room temperature
    100g Honey (I just used a cheap jar from the cupboard, but you could certainly pimp them up with a nice jar id imagine!)
    100g light muscavado sugar
    half tsp ground cinnamon
    pinch of ground nutmeg

    The welsh ones I remember had some interesting way of layering it all, but I went for the rolled option above..

    Just cream everything together , and spread over the rectangle as above.

    And for the glaze simply heated some Honey (mbe another 150g?) in a pan and spooned it over!

    Simply wonderful, thanks so much for the dough recipe and idea!

  3. Catherine says:

    Just taken these out of the oven, MMMMMMMMM, I’m not sure how you’re meant to wait for them to cool, I had some friends over so we just poured on the glaze and scoffed the whole lot warm with coffee. DELICIOUS.
    As an aside, I got beef suet by mistake but it didn’t seem to make any difference, and wasn’t paying enough attention so chopped them into six peices and ended up with monster buns. Funnily enough this didn’t seem to matter either.
    Wonderful recipe, thank you.

  4. Giovani says:

    I do not have access to vegetable suet but I would really like to make these rolls. Would you recommend substituting cold butter for the suet?

  5. Madalene says:

    Hi Giovani,

    I think that if you substitute the suet directly with butter it would bee too much. I suggest you leave the melted butter out of the recipe and use 625g flour and 100g grated super cold butter.
    Happy Baking.

  6. In search of Rhubarb & Custard, I reached this website, and have been so carried away. Though I do not eat refined sugar, dairy, etc. I am almost tempted to try all recipes without modifying; all the recipes I have quickly gone through look so very inviting!

    In the first place, I do not believe in, thus, do not buy, cookery books without photos, and this website is with more than enough photos for each recipe and the process is shown so crystal clear, which is extremely considerate!

    Enthralling stories accompany each recipe, which makes it so satisfying to read through the recipe; I especially enjoyed reading about agar agar, which although has been one of the commonest ingredients to me (I am Japanese), was eye-opening !!!

    Can not decide which one I shall try first.

    Anyway, I have quickly signed up for subscription so that I should not miss out anything. Will look forward to looking into the archives as well as new recipes as well.

    I am so excited past midnight I may not be able to sleep tonight!

  7. Claudia says:

    We are so blessed to have the benefit of your search for the perfect honey bun recipe. I can’t wait to try making them.

  8. [...] Cinnamon Orange Blossom Honey Buns Recipe by Madalene Bonvini … [...]

  9. [...] Cinnamon Orange Blossom Honey Buns Recipe by Madalene Bonvini … [...]

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