Portion/Yield:Makes 10–12 buns
This is a wonderful recipe, it’s sticky, sweet and packed with lots of deliciousness. The brioche buns are made with yeast, which makes them superbly light, but the structure of the brioche is quite strong. Once soaked in the orange and cardamom syrup, they are absolutely divine. They do absorb a lot of syrup though, so take care as they do become fragile. I keep them in a large Kilner jar (but any suitable airtight container will do), which makes them ideal for taking on a picnic (but don’t forget the wet wipes, as it can be a very sticky affair!).
I use rubber cannelle moulds for my brioche buns, but you can use any similar moulds (such as cupcake moulds or mini loaf tins), just remember to only fill the moulds half-full as they need to double in size. For a boozy kick, substitute 100ml water with 100ml dark rum or brandy – they will be drunken little devils then!
Ingredients & Method
For the Brioche Buns
- 150g plain flour
- a pinch of table salt
- 15g fresh yeast, crumbled
- 20g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 75g unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
For the Orange and Cardamom Syrup
- 500g caster sugar
- 400ml cold water
- 100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 4 tablespoons clear honey
- pared rind of 1 orange
- 1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways
- 2 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 1 star anise
For the brioche buns, grease 10–12 large cannelle moulds (if you choose the smaller canapé-size cannelle moulds, this recipe will make up to 18 buns) and set aside.
Place the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Attach the dough hook and start mixing. Add the eggs, one at a time, kneading the dough well after each addition. Knead the dough for 2 minutes on a medium speed, then slowly add the diced butter, a few bits at a time. Knead the mixture for 7–8 minutes or until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough becomes glossy and elastic (the dough will be soft and quite runny). Alternatively, you can make the dough using a Thermomix (see Chef’s Notes).
Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle and half-fill the prepared moulds with the dough. Loosely cover the moulds with cling film, then leave to prove (rise) in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30–40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7.
Bake the brioche buns in the oven for about 15 minutes (reduce the cooking time to about 10 minutes, if you are making smaller canapé-size buns) or until risen and deep golden brown. Remove from the oven, let the buns cool in the moulds for 1 minute, then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, have ready a clean, large Kilner jar (or another suitable airtight container) and make the syrup. Place all the syrup ingredients in a medium saucepan over a low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and boil the syrup (without stirring) for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Place the buns into the Kilner jar using a pair of tongs, then pour the warm syrup over the buns. Seal the jar and then let the buns soak for at least 6 hours before serving (see Chef’s Notes). To serve, carefully remove each bun from the jar and serve with a little of the soaking syrup spooned over, if you like.
I make this recipe often and I find that the soaked brioche buns last well for up to a week in the syrup (store them at room temperature). Take extra care when you remove the soaked brioche buns from the jar as they will be full of syrup and are fragile.
For an extra indulgent dessert, these soaked buns are also delicious served with mascarpone cheese or pouring cream.
To add a boozy kick to the syrup, substitute 100ml water with 100ml dark rum or brandy.
Once the soaked buns have all been eaten, strain any leftover syrup and serve it with ice cream or cheesecake for dessert.
Thermomix method for the dough
Weigh the flour, yeast, salt and sugar directly into the Thermomix bowl using the built-in weighing scales. Blend for 20 seconds on speed 10. Add the eggs, set the timer to 1 minute 30 seconds and press the Dough button. Set the timer again for 1 minute 30 seconds, press the Dough button, then during this second phase of kneading, gradually add the diced butter by dropping it through the hole in the lid onto the kneading dough, until it is fully incorporated. Transfer the dough to a piping bag and continue with the recipe as above.