SLIDER

iced pink finger buns

8 Apr 2024


I've always loved an iced pink finger bun so when I saw a photo of the 
pistachio and lemon iced buns from Beatrix Bakes: Another Slice by Natalie Paull in the latest issue of Delicious Magazine, I knew it was time to make a batch. When I found some freeze dried raspberry powder in the baking aisle of my local supermarket on Saturday, I knew the time had come.


These finger buns were not made using Natalie's recipe, but they were inspired by the pictures. I used my ever faithful bun dough recipe, much adapted from a Sarah Keiffer recipe, with the addition of dried fruit and citrus rind as suggested by Natalie. I used orange syrup to glaze the buns, which was already lurking in my fridge but I used Natalie's cream cheese icing recipe. 

You can't make these finger buns on a whim because the dough needs an overnight rise. However, both the icing and syrup can be made ahead of time or while the buns are proving. As I'm an early riser, the buns were baked, cooled and iced by 10.00 am on Sunday morning and devoured by 10.15 am. They are so good!


Here's the recipe for you which makes 6 finger 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.

Iced pink finger buns - Inspired by the recipe for pistachio and lemon iced buns from Beatrix Bakes: Another Slice by Natalie Paull, a copy of which has been on order from my local library for quite some time.

Fruit soak
100g dried fruit (I used a mix of sultanas, currants and dried cranberries)
½ cup boiling water
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange

Dough
1 and 1/8 tsp yeast
125 mls lukewarm milk
30g honey
1 room temperature egg 
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (300g) plain flour 
½ tsp salt
75g room temperature unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 

Syrup
40 mls orange juice or water
40g caster sugar

Fluffy cream cheese icing
125g full fat softened cream cheese
125g unsalted butter, squidgy soft 
½ tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
40g yoghurt powder or dried milk powder
125g icing sugar
10g freeze dried raspberry powder

To finish
¼ cup flaked coconut 
1 tbs freeze dried raspberry pieces 
60g butter of your choice

Fruit soak
Place the dried fruit into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for an hour before draining thoroughly and patting dry with paper towel. Stir through the grated rinds and set aside until needed.

Dough
Grease a large plastic container and set to one side. Combine the yeast, milk and honey in a large liquid measuring cup and rest for 5 minutes or until foamy then stir in the egg and the vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour and salt and stir on low to combine. Add the egg mixture and mix on low to combine. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one piece at a time. When all the butter has been incorporated (about 10 minutes) increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough, until all the little butter pieces are incorporated, and the dough comes away from the side of the bowl. Transfer the dough to the prepared container. 

The dough will be sticky and you might need a spatula to scrape the dough into the bowl or container. Cover the container with a lid or with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Distribute the fruit soak over the dough and gently push it into the dough using your fingers. Place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough and gently pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. Turn the container and repeat this folding again. Continue 6 to 8 more times, until all the dough has been folded over on itself. Re-cover the container and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this series of folding 3 more times, for a rise time of 2 hours and a total of 4 foldings. Replace the lid or tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours.

Icing
Place the cream cheese, butter and yoghurt or milk powder, vanilla and salt in the bowl of electric stand mixer. Sift the icing sugar over the top. Beat with the paddle attachment for 10 minutes on speed 4 (below low) until pale, and fluffy. Store covered in the fridge until needed. If refrigerated, rewarm in the microwave in 20-second bursts until softened.


Assembly
Spray a shallow 20cm 30cm 5cm deep baking tray with cooking oil spray and line with baking paper. On a lightly floured counter, divide the chilled dough into six, approximately 105g portions and gently shape into balls. Leave on the counter with a tea towel over the top and rest for 10 minutes. This little pre-shape will relax the dough so you can roll evenly shaped with extra flour as possible.
Roll the balls into smooth, even diameter cigars about 15cm long. Place the dough cigars in parallel lines on the lined tray. Space them apart by 1cm so they'll touch during baking. Free-range, far apart buns won't puff as much without support from their bun buddies. Spray the tops with cooking oil and cover with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature for the final proof  (around 1 to 1½ hours depending on room temperature) or until they're a little puffed and snuggling one another. 

Towards the end of the proof, preheat the oven to 220°C, conventional. While the buns proof, finish the icing by stirring in 10g of dried raspberry powder. Set aside at room temperature, or refrigerate if it's a warm day. 



Syrup
Combine the juice or water and sugar in small non-reactive saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 seconds, until viscous like oil. Turn the heat off and set the syrup aside to cool at room temperature.

When the buns bounce back lazily when poked, put them in the oven. Turn the heat down to 190°C conventional and bake for 18-20 minutes. The bun tops will be a light tan colour, springy to touch, and the internal temperature will be 95°C. As soon as the buns come out of the even, brush the syrup all over the tops and sides. Leave the tray to completely cool on a wire rack for around 1 hour. If your icing is chilled, take it out of the fridge now.


To finish 
Pull a bun away from its buddies. Using a small, sharp serrated knife, split the cooled bun lengthwise like a hot dog bun, keeping the base intact, and smooth a good smear of softened butter on each cut side. Press the halves back together.

Load the softened icing into a piping bag with a medium plain nozzle in place (I used my home made St Honore tip). Pipe a tight squiggly spine down the top of the bun and sprinkle with flaked coconut and a few freeze dried raspberry pieces. Serve straight away.



Now I can't wait to make a batch of the pistachio and lemon iced buns.


Easter has been and gone and hard as it is to believe, Passover is almost upon us. I've been baking Passover treats since the end of January and next week I'll be sharing 5 bakes with you for Passover week 2024

See you all again next week.

Bye for now, 

Jillian
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chocolate ricotta cake

1 Apr 2024


It wouldn't be Easter without chocolate. As I'm sure you know, I don't really like chocolate in baked goods, although I do admit to a deep fondness for chocolate Tim Tams. I'm known at work as the girl (shock, horror) who doesn't like chocolate, however my workmates are huge fans. With my workmates in mind and with some leftover ricotta in the fridge I decided to try my hand at making the 
chocolate ricotta cake I saw 
Julia Busuttil Nishimura whip up on the Good Food Kitchen cooking show.


Raspberries were on special at the supermarket and I had everything else on hand I needed, so I put the cake together on Sunday morning. Once cooled I veered away from the recipe a little and topped the cake with some espresso flavoured chocolate ganache.


Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. 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.


Chocolate ricotta cake – Julia Busuttil Nishimura
Ingredients
100g self-raising flour
30g Dutch process cocoa powder
pinch salt
125g unsalted butter
135g caster sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
125g fresh full-fat ricotta
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate ganache
75g 50% chocolate, finely chopped
75ml pure cream
½ tsp maple syrup
¼ tsp espresso powder
Fresh raspberries, to decorate

Method
Preheat the oven to 190°C conventional. Grease and line a 17cm round cake tin. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, cream the butter and sugar on a medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes or until very pale and fluffy, scraping the bowl down with a spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition before adding the next. Once the eggs have been fully incorporated, add the ricotta and vanilla extract and continue to mix until well combined. Reduce the speed to low and add in the flour and cocoa powder. Mix very briefly, only for 10-15 seconds, or until it is just incorporated. Finish mixing the cake batter by hand with a spatula, being careful to not over-mix. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the mixture.



Bake in the preheated 190°C conventional oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when tested. Allow to cool briefly in the tin then turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Transfer to a serving plate and set aside.



For the ganache, place the chopped chocolate 
in a medium bowl. In a small pan heat the cream with the maple syrup and espresso powder, stirring until the espresso powder has dissolved and the cream is until simmering. Immediately pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes. Whisk or stir the mixture until the chocolate and butter have melted and combined with the cream, to form a rich and glossy mixture. 




Allow to sit at room temperature until it becomes a spreadable consistency (about 20 minutes). Spoon the ganache onto the cooled cake and spread it to the edges of the cake in a swirling motion. Top with the raspberries before serving.


I'm pleased to report that every-one 
at work loved the chocolate ricotta cake.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian 
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