Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Baking for Insomniacs - Jam buns

Buns, with jam in.  Jam wrapped with bun.  That's kinda it.  I was going to make my mooted 'Devonshire Dodgers' on Sunday evening but the cream I had planned on using turned out not to like being frozen (I'm so sure people are always saying you can freeze cream) plus by the time I had finished the epic making of this months random recipe that same evening (that'll be the next post) I couldn't have been bothered even if I had got cream that wasn't redefining 'lurking' as a verb for a dairy product to utilise when bored and hanging out at the bottom of it's pot.
However, today* I had an early awakening (Chap is dying of man flu / cold remember - with that condition goes certain attendant night-time snorty/snoring-but-with-added-volume noises.  Sigh.) so by 6am I gave it up as a bad job and decided to whack a quick bunch of buns together for the office peeps.  I used this recipe that dates to 1923; being a sucker for an old family version of anything, just adapting it in line with the sugar I had and using the Strawberry jam work had gifted me to use up as opposed to the Raspberry in the original recipe.  I also measured the milk, being physically pained by recipes that say 'a little' of something or any other such massively imprecise measurement.  As a novice at baking these sorts of things really do not help me at all.
* It was in fact yesterday - Monday. T'internet went down when I was trying to load this post last night though thankfully Blogger had saved it! I couldn't post it though. I'm blaming the weather.

So - simple, easy and pretty quick to knock up and needing only 15-20 mins baking these are an ideal time-frugal tea-time (or early morning!) bake for when you need buns in a hurry:
(and lets face it languorous buns are an entirely different kettle of fish, non??!) hur hur hur...

8oz SR flour
1 tsp (and a scant 1 more as mine was out of date) baking powder
3oz butter
1oz soft light brown sugar*
2oz caster sugar*
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1fl oz milk
6-12 tsp Jam from one of the 2 unopened jars work purchased for cream teas for the students in the summer then never used.  Tsk!   Or your own choice of jam of course!  In preference I would go for a higher fruit content one and not strawberry in any way shape or form but that's just me...
A little extra milk
A little extra sugar
*The original recipe says to use all caster.  I only had a couple of oz of it.  That in itself is surprising for me as I tend to be more of the school of thought that says - 'use damn granulated - what's the big difference huh?' when a recipe demands caster sugar.  And yes - I know it's bigger granules.  (And yes - I also know full well you should never start a sentence with 'and' but it's my blog and...oh - I'm sure we had this discussion before...)  So - on to the baking bit:

Preheat oven to 180 - I used 170-175 ish as we have a fan oven.  Anyone with a diff temp scale go to the link on the right side bar for a well handy temp conversion chart.  I'm good to you aren't I?
Sift flour and BP into a bowl. 
If your butter is not soft (for example when you decide to start baking at dawn o'clock rather than planning for it therefore your butter has come straight from the fridge) chop into smaller bits and pop in the microwave for 10-20 secs to soften.  Then rub it into the flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
DSCN7631 Stir in the sugar.
Make a well in the centre and add the egg and milk.  Use a wooden spoon and draw the dry goods into the centre gradually incorporating all of it to make a soft dough.  If it's too dry you can add a little more milk - a tiny drizzle at the time.  If it's too wet then you should use a smaller egg.  Or you could add a little more flour of course....  (he he he he...)
Grease a couple of baking sheets in preparation.  Flour a board and your hands. 
Form the dough into a sausage and cut in half, then half again (4 bits now else you've gone terribly wrong already and should probably at this juncture just go back to bed).  Each of these pieces should be then cut into 3 giving 12 in total. 
In turn, roll each into a ball and flatten slightly.  Add jam to the centre.  A whole teaspoonful is nicer but harder to wrap the dough round.  You'll get a feel for it.
DSCN7632  Flatten the edges a little more then brush a small amount of milk on - just enough to help the edges stick to each other securing the jam inside, too much and it'll be too soggy to maintain it's jam resistant integrity.
Place the buns join side down on the baking trays, they spread a little but I forgot to take a pic at this juncture so can't show you exactly how much by.  (Oops me.)  Not double in size like some similar recipes I saw said they would though!
Brush with a little milk and sprinkle with a little sugar - I used the light brown here.  Large granule stuff (like the 'coffee sugar' you get in paper sachets - whatever the heck the official name for that is) would be nice here I think, for a little contrasting texture.
Bake for 15-20 mins.  Mine had the full 20 and I felt would have benefited from a couple of minutes less.  I thought they were very very slightly on the dry side but opinions were divided at work with people not noticing or actively liking that aspect so - it's up to you / the vagaries of your particular oven I guess.  "Until golden brown" is; I guess, a term we are all happily familiar with whilst being every bit as uselessly subjective in actuality.
Cool on a wire rack.  They have jam in - don't eat them hot and if you're dense enough to try to don't come a-suing me after.  Just enjoy them like a well adjusted fully rounded individual would ok.  Or fall upon them with cries of bun, BUNS, my preciousssss....  Whatever floats your boat.  Just wait until they've cooled to do so.  Nom!

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