Soft and sweet cherry buns, swirled with cherry jam, dried cherries and glace cherries for a triple cherry hit. Delicious for breakfast!
Sweet buns, fresh from the oven, are one of life’s most blissful pleasures.
There are lots of various types of buns, both sweet and savoury of course, but as we are not in the burger or dim sum territory, I’ll focus on the sweet ones.
Hot cross buns come to mind (and stomach) foremost, albeit only once a year. There are brioche buns which bridge the sweet-savoury gully, though I’m not a huge fan of packing my burger into so rich a housing. Also, burgers off the topic now.
Chelsea buns have currants in them and are twirled into a spiral, while Belgian buns carry more fondant icing you’d think possible – and a cherry on top. Sally Lunn and Colston buns both are really teacakes, rich with currants and best toasted and buttered.
There are also Bath and London buns, which, though remote geographically are in fact practically the same bun.
Saffron buns are Swedish delights from around Christmas time. Italian cream buns, maritozzi, are split and decadently filled with whipped cream.
Boller in Norway, honey buns in America, buns are beloved round the world. Because they make a simply delightful breakfast.
Fresh buns for breakfast? But how?
Fresh from the oven, sweet buns are unbeaten without question. But would you rise at the crack of dawn or earlier, to knead, proof and shape dough in order to have a tray emerge from the oven at breakfast? Not likely.
The recipe below though makes buns which freeze beautifully. So if you bake a batch at the weekend, then pack them individually or in pairs into plastic tubs or bags, it will only take remembering to defrost a portion the night before, to have a lovely, almost like fresh bun with your morning coffee.
So best roll up your sleeves and get mixing!
Easy sweet dough
It is a straightforward process of making dough, heavily simplified if you own a standing mixer or a food processor. Kneading it by hand will be rewarding, but a long and strenuous exercise: the dough will insist on remaining very sticky for very long.
If you use instant yeast, you can mix it straight into the flour with the sugar and salt. If you have fresh yeast, give it a kickstart by dissolving in a little warm milk and leaving for 15 minutes until it foams up. In either case heat up the rest of the milk till warm enough to melt the butter, when added to it with the vanilla.
Then combine the dry ingredients with the liquid ones and eggs, and let the standing mixer or a food processor do the hard work.
It will take about 10 minutes in a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment before the dough looks smooth and elastic, no longer sticky and shaggy, and it bounces happily off the sides of the bowl. It is ready to have a rest now, proofing in a warm place for an hour.
The filling in these buns is cherry jam, dried cherries and glace cherries, a triple whammy of preserved fruit. Is it overkill?
Perhaps, but the jam makes the bulk of the filling, the dried cherries provide texture and the glace cherries look pretty in the centre of each bun. The existence of each thus fully justified.
How to shape cherry buns
It is easiest to divide the dough into three pieces and work with each piece at a time. I like to shape them into snails, snuggled close together in a tin, so you can pull them apart when baked.
But if you don’t want to go to such lengths, divide the dough into 9 pieces, flatten each on the worktop, add a spoonful of jam and a few dried cherries and seal well, shaping to a round bun.
The more intricate method involves rolling out a third of the dough at a time into a long rectangle. Spread it with jam, sprinkle with dried and glace cherries and roll up tightly into a log.
Cut that long into three, and curl each into a snail-shaped bun. Continue with the rest of the dough, and nest the buns in a square tin, spaced evenly.
After the final proof, when they’ve puffed up so almost touching, you can brush them with beaten egg or melted butter and decorate with any remaining glace cherries.
When baked, which takes about half an hour, let them cool down slightly before tearing one off – though the temptation to do it sooner will be sore!
More sweet bun recipes
Buchteln are Austrian buns, filled with jam and baked in one dish to tear and share. Deliciously fluffy, like oven baked doughnuts, they are traditionally served warm, with vanilla custard sauce.
Cinnamon and raisin buns rolled up from challah dough are not too sweet and perfect for breakfast. Assemble, freeze and get in the oven the night before for a breakfast treat!
Pistachio morning buns with cardamom scent and toasted pistachio and sugar crunch. They are made from enriched bread dough on tangzhong milk starter.
More recipes with glace cherries
Cherry and marzipan cake recipe - a simple buttermilk cake batter with glace cherries and a layer of homemade marzipan. This cherry and marzipan loaf cake might be an easier alternative to a simnel cake for Easter. Just make sure you make your own marzipan - it’s easy and so much better!
Cherry chocolate bread, sourdough based brioche filled with a mix of white chocolate chips, glace cherries and almond flakes. It's also easy to make with yeast instead of sourdough starter, and the perfect weekend breakfast idea.
Chocolate and glace cherry cake; my easy deconstructed black forest gateau. Cherries mixed into the batter, cream served on the side, it’s a mere hint of the black forest cake.