Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Orangey Honey Buns

My obsession with the latest Valentine Warner book continues. The Orangey Honey Buns had caught my eye straight away, and the quest to use up as much stuff in the cupboards before moving meant I had a packet of instant yeast wanting a home.

The buns were pretty easy to make, although the dough seemed to want to travel up my whisk in to my mixer instead of staying on the beaters. After a few attempts to scrape it out of the top of the beaters, I gave up and mixed it by hand.

The dough rose easily, and tiny blobs in each of the muffin holes soon grew to almost overflowing. Given my last attempt at baking with Valentine Warner ended in a burnt meringue, I went for the lower timing estimate.

Valentine Warner must be testing his recipes using the coldest oven in the world! I never normally have trouble with baking (my oven is pretty new and accurate) so I rarely check things too closely. After 12 minutes the buns were very very very black. Oh dear. However, after letting them cool, they hadn't hardened up too much. Even though they weren't golden, they didn't seem to be charcoal either.

Orangey Honey Buns

I forged on with making the syrup, which was very easy (and so tasty that I had a few spoonfuls while making it... just to test obviously). I served a couple of the buns straight away with the hot syrup, and put the rest in a jar in the fridge.

The buns were a little chewy on the outside, but the inside was still soft and spongy. It reminded me a lot of a rum baba. While it would have been slightly tastier (and much prettier) without the black tops, it didn't really completely ruin the dish either. The sticky syrup soaked in to the buns quickly, and they crumbled easily when attacked with a spoon. The ones that have been left to soak are almost liquid inside, with each bubble in the sponge containing syrup instead of air.

I'm having to resist eating these all the time. The jar in the fridge is calling me. I even ate some for breakfast, which is definitely not good for my health. The recipe suggests serving with whipped cream, but I think a nice blob of vanilla ice cream would also be lovely, especially if the buns are still warm. I've been having mine with creme fraiche and a chunk of the candied orange peel used in the syrup. The sourness of the creme fraiche cuts through the syrup well.

Still golden inside

I would recommend this recipe, but if you have a halfway decent oven, I would check the buns after 8 minutes and then proceed carefully. Don't worry too much if they do get a bit dark, but if food aesthetics are important to you, watch closely...