Bake off is back!
That statement will mean a lot more to those who reside on this side of the Atlantic and call this foggy little island home. The Great British Bake Off has become a TV classic, with a following so devout it would be a cult if it weren’t so mainstream! The premise is simple – 12 bakers, 12 weeks of baking challenges that showcase the best of British baking. Each week someone is voted off the island… sorry, wrong show. But it is a competition and each week a baker throws in the (tea)towel and calls it quits.
Now, Britain has a rather poor international reputation for it’s cuisine. Fish and chips, bangers and mash, the Full English, steamed puddings… British cuisine is a study of stodginess. Rich in fat, simple in flavour, and devoid of spice. But British baking does deserve some credit and has given the world some beautiful sweet treats. Who doesn’t love a classic cream tea? Or perhaps a slice of a Victoria sponge? Or a freshly baked slice of Irish soda bread?
I have to admit I am very late to hop on to the Bake Off Bandwagon. I think it’s in it’s sixth or seventh season and I only started it watching it last year when I watched the semi-finals and finale. What captured my interest was the amusingly silly hosts (Mel and Sue), the fair but firm judging of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, and the goodnatured competition of the talented bakers. I’ve been told before that I should try out for the show, but I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again. Bake Off is not for me. Baking? Yes, of course, I’ll be a baker my entire life. Baking with a time limit on national TV with Paul Hollywood breathing down your neck? Nah, I’m good.
Each week of the show focuses on a different area of baking. The show kicked off with cake week, then biscuit week. Last week was bread week. The show’s two judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, each have their own ‘subspecialties’ and everybody knows that Paul is the bread man. Last year, my friend gave me Paul’s cookbook ‘British Baking’ and I am sheepish to admit that this is the first time I’ve baked anything from it. See, I am not a bread baker. Cakes, cookies, bars, and brownies – those are my thing. But my breadmaking is usually limited to whipping up pizza dough. However, I was inspired by last week’s episode to finally brave the bread and try out these lemon buns.
Paul’s recipe calls for candied lemon peel, but my local grocery store only stocked mixed lemon and orange peel. Nay bother. He calls them Whitby Lemon Buns because they hail from the North of England. I also decided to make these a little bit more decadent by filling them with a lemon cream made of whipped cream and lemon curd and adding in some fresh raspberries.
I have to say the buns themselves are delicious. Soft with a hint of sweetness and the candied citrus peel is gorgeous. The lemon cream didn’t whip as nicely as I hoped it would. The addition of the lemon curd meant that I could only get it to very soft peaks – it held it’s shape fairly well after piping but the edges were soft rather than the crisp swirls I’d normally expect from whipped cream. The icing was also very sweet. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the between the filling and the icing these buns edged into the territory of over indulgent. If I make these again I’d be tempted to go for the icing or the cream filling, but not both. But if you’re looking for a really sweet, cute bun to serve at your next fancy tea party, these could be a hit!
Lemon and Raspberry Cream Buns
Bun recipe is from Paul Hollywood’s British Baking
(link to amazon here - I wasn’t given this book for a promotion or anything… just feel I should give credit where it’s due!)
Whitby Lemon Buns
Makes 10 buns
- 400g strong white bread flour
- 5g salt
- 40g caster sugar
- 2 x 7g sachets instant years
- 40g unsalted butter, diced and softened
- 120ml milk
- 120ml water
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 100g candied lemon peel, finely diced (I used changed orange and lemon peel mixed – worked just fine!)
- 1 x small carton of raspberries
- Put the flour in a large bowl and add the salt and sugar on one side, the yeast on the other. Add the butter and milk, then turn the mixture round with the fingers of one hand. Add the water a little at a time, continuing to mix until you have taken in all the flour from the side of the bowl and the dough is soft and slightly sticky; you might not need all the water.
- Coat the work surface with a little oil to prevent the dough sticking. Turn out the dough and knead for at least 5 minutes, until it is smooth and no longer sticky. Lightly oil the bowl, return the dough to it and cover with cling film (Krissy’s Note: Saran wrap for the North Americans). Leave to rise for at least an hour, until doubled in size.
- Add the lemon zest and candied peel to the dough and work in to incorporate evenly. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and fold it inwards repeatedly until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth. Form into a long roll.
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Divide the dough into 10 pieces and roll each one into a ball. Place on the prepared baking tray, arranging them close together. As they rise, the buns will touch each other. Place the tray in a clean plastic bag (Krissy Note: I covered with cling film) and leave to prove for about 40 minutes, until the buns have doubled in size. Heat the oven to 220C/430F.
- Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes, until they are golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes enough to generously fill 10 buns
- 300ml double cream
- 150g lemon curd
- Add the lemon curd and a small amount of cream to a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat together the lemon curd and cream until smooth.
- Add in the rest of the double cream and beat on high until light and holds soft peaks. Mine was almost like the texture of very thick good quality yoghurt rather than being stiff peaks.
- Fill a disposable piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
- 250g icing sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- Sift the icing sugar over a mixing bowl.
- Gradually add in the lemon juice and stir until smooth. The mixture should be thick enough that it won’t just slide off the top of the buns but it is still smooth enough to spread easily.
Assembly of the Lemon and Raspberry Cream Buns
- With a serrated bread knife, carefully slice each of the cooled lemon buns in half. Set the top halves aside, but remember which bun they came from!
- Place 4 raspberries on the edges of the top of the bottom half the bun. Pipe the lemon filling in the centre and then between the raspberries (see photos!).
- Spoon a dollop of icing over the top of each bun and sprinkle with hundreds and thousands. Place the top back on the bottom bun.
- Chill in the fridge for 30 min or so for the cream to firm up a bit (it’ll get soft from the heat of your hands on the piping back) and also for the icing to set.
- Enjoy with a big mug of tea!