tuscan rosemary buns

Last year I saw some delicious looking Easter buns on the Flour and Stone
IG account. They were Nadine Ingram's adaptation of pan di ramarino, or Tuscan rosemary buns. Nadine in turn had been inspired by an Emiko Davies recipe, so I went straight to the source.

I do love hot cross buns but they are a little time consuming and this recipe was not. I was also intrigued by the use of savoury rosemary in a sweet bun, so I went to work slightly adapting the recipe along the way. Firstly I had to buy some rosemary as my rosemary plant died some time ago. I didn't have quite enough sultanas so I used some currants as well. I have to say that combination worked out so well, I would do that again.

I made the dough and did an overnight rise and the dough rose very high and handsome. When it came to scoring the dough, the razor blades I'd purchased for the task went missing, so I used a sharp knife instead. 

As orange and rosemary are natural partners I topped the buns with orange flavoured syrup. I was very keen to try one of the buns still warm from the oven. The buns were lightly sweet, fluffy, gently flavoured with rosemary and best of all delicious. I've made the buns a second time, using a combination of sultanas and dried blueberries, because I'd run out of currants, and they were equally delicious. I also purchased another pack of razor blades so I could score the buns. So much easier than using a serrated knife.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes 8 buns. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Tuscan rosemary buns - makes 8
80g sultanas or currants or a mix of both
1 Earl Grey teabag
100 mls boiling water
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
7g (1 sachet) dried yeast
180 ml lukewarm milk or water or a mixture
30g caster sugar
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg lightly beaten, for glazing
Butter, to serve

Orange syrup
55g caster sugar 
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
20 mls water
60 mls orange juice

Place the sultanas, tea bag and 100mls boiling water in a bowl. Set aside for an hour or until fruit is plump. Drain well before using.

To infuse the oil, remove the leaves from one rosemary sprig, you should have about 5g, and chop finely. Place the olive oil into a small saucepan with the rosemary leaves and gently heat for a few minutes. Allow to cool completely.

ln a small bowl, combine the yeast with 60 mls of the warm milk and 1 tsp of the sugar. Leave covered for 10 minutes or so until a sponge has formed. Place the remaining sugar, the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture, the cooled oil and leaves and the remaining milk and using the dough hook mix until a soft dough has formed, about 5-7 minutes. Cover and leave for 20 minutes before doing a series of stretch and folds. Leave for a further 20 minutes covered in the bowl.

Place the dough onto a floured board and flatten into a rectangle. Remove the leaves from the second sprig of rosemary. Pat the sultanas dry and sprinkle over the dough along with the fresh rosemary leaves. Gently press the sultanas into the dough. Fold over corners of the dough to enclose the sultanas and rosemary and knead until evenly distributed. Form into a round, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and rest in a warm, draught-free place until doubled in size (about 1 hour). You could also cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge for an overnight rise.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured board, then divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape into fist-sized buns and place on a lined baking sheet with 5cm or so space between each bun. Score the tops of the bun with a noughts-and-crosses grid using a very sharp knife or a razor blade. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place, for a further half hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C, conventional. Brush the tops of the buns with beaten egg and bake at 200⁰C for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. While the buns are cooking, prepare the syrup. Place the sugar and orange rind in a small saucepan with the water and stir to dissolve. Add the orange juice then simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened. When the buns are ready, brush the tops of the still warm buns with the syrup, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with butter.

Like most breads, these are best eaten the day they are made but are excellent the following day toasted and served with butter and apricot jam.

Have a great Easter break and I'll see you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



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