Sticky chestnut buns
- November 2013
- Makes 12 buns
- Takes 1 hour to make, 45 minutes to cook, plus 4-5 hours resting and cooling
Debbie Major’s buns are a bit like chelsea buns, but a lot stickier – these come with a chestnut and pecan filling and are made with a soft brioche dough.
If it’s Chelsea buns you’re after, here’s our failsafe recipe.
- 25.4g (13.5g saturated)
- 43g (22.2g sugars)
For the brioche dough
- 325g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 325g strong plain bread flour
- 14g fast-action yeast
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 5 large free-range eggs
- 300g unsalted butter, softened, plus 50g, melted
For the toffee topping
- 175g unsalted butter
- 350g light muscovado sugar
- 100ml maple syrup
- 75ml double cream
- ¼ tsp salt
For the filling
- 50g light muscovado sugar
- 50g demerara sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 75g cooked peeled chestnut, finely chopped, plus 75g extra to scatter
- 50g toasted pecan nuts, broken into small pieces, plus 75g extra to scatter
- For the dough, sift the flours, yeast, sugar and salt into a stand mixer with the dough hook fitted. Add the eggs and 125ml hand-hot water (hot enough so you can put your hand in without discomfort), then beat on a low speed for 4 minutes. Loosen the mixture from the dough hook and the base of the bowl, then beat for another 4 minutes. Don’t worry if the dough is a bit stiff and dry. It’s supposed to be this texture at this stage.
- Continuing to beat on a low speed, gradually add the 300g butter a small piece at a time, waiting for each piece to become incorporated before adding the next (this should take about 10 minutes). Increase the speed slightly and beat for 15 minutes more until the dough is slightly sticky and shiny. Press a sheet of cling film on to the dough, then cover the bowl with another sheet. Leave somewhere warm for 30-45 minutes to prove until it’s almost double the size. Transfer the bowl to the fridge for at least 2 hours – the dough will firm up and be easier to handle.
- Meanwhile, for the topping, melt the 175g butter in a medium pan. Add the 350g light muscovado sugar and 85ml water and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup, cream and salt. Pour the mixture into a non-stick roasting tin about 24cm x 36cm and 7cm deep, then tilt back and forth so it covers the tin evenly. Set aside to cool.
- For the filling, mix the sugars, cinnamon, 75g chestnuts and 50g pecans together in a small bowl.
- Uncover the dough, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cut the dough evenly in half and, one piece at a time, roll out into a 23cm x 30cm rectangle. Turn the dough so a short edge is facing you. Brush the surface with half the 50g melted butter and sprinkle evenly with half the filling mixture. Then, working away from you, roll up tightly. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Cut each roll across into 6 x 4cm slices and put cut-side up, evenly spaced, on top of the toffee topping. Cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm for 1-2 hours until the buns have doubled in size and are touching each other. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes until puffed and richly golden. Cool in the tin for 20-30 minutes. Carefully separate the buns and put on to a wire rack, sticky-side up (don’t clean the baking tin). Put another baking tin underneath, then sprinkle the buns with the extra chopped chestnuts and pecans. Return the original baking tin to the oven for a few minutes until the leftover toffee sauce is runny again, then drizzle over each bun. Serve warm. If they cool, reheat in a low oven for a few minutes or in the microwave for 30 seconds per bun.
When making brioche dough, if the kitchen is hot, rest the dough in the fridge (step 2) straight after kneading. (If it gets too hot, it may collapse.)
No stand mixer? Using Debbie’s quantities you can make the brioche dough by hand. Get your arm muscles ready and primed…
Ignore step 3 and, after you’ve cut the filled, rolled buns in step 5, chill overnight or freeze for up to 1 month. If freezing, thaw overnight in the fridge. Remove and leave somewhere warm for 1-2 hours to rise while you make the topping (step 3), then bake on top of the topping as in step 5 and continue.
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