JUMP TO RECIPE -
Since I discovered that marzipan is actually nice, nothing like the shop-bought sickly, artificially over-essenced, weirdly pale stuff, I want to keep putting it in everything. Perhaps leaving out my Sunday roast and such things alone. It’s incredibly easy to make and this particular recipe has it generously flavoured with lemon juice, so it’s sharpish, not sickly, and wonderfully tasty.
This is an afterthought of Christmas as I applied the excellent Stollen dough, sans fruit and quite so much spice, to the idea of buns. Little bites, perfect for breakfast, afternoon coffee or any other time of day.
I baked them in a bun tin, a muffin tin will work just as well but they can be simply placed onto a baking sheet and will keep their shape.
- For the starter dough:
- 185g strong white flour
- 7g fast-action or 30g fresh yeast
- 150ml whole milk, at room temperature
- For the main dough:
- 185g strong white flour
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 free-range egg yolk
- 40ml milk
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- beaten egg for brushing and glazing
- For the marzipan filling:
- 100g ground almonds
- 100g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
- 2 free-range egg yolks
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
To make the marzipan, put the ground almonds, icing sugar and egg yolks in a bowl. Mix with a spatula, gradually adding the lemon juice, until the marzipan is smooth with a doughy consistency. Form a ball or a long sausage shape on a surface liberally dusted with icing sugar, wrap in cling film and refrigerate.
For the dough, mix all the ingredients for the starter in a large bowl. Cover with cling film and leave for an hour in a warm place. In the meantime grind the cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar and mix with the other spices.
Add the spice mix to the starter dough together with the ingredients for the main dough apart from the butter. Add a pinch of salt, then mix with your hands or in a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment for about 2 minutes. Add half the butter, then knead in the bowl for a couple of minutes before adding the rest of the butter. Knead until all the butter is mixed in and the dough is beginning to look silky smooth, stops sticking to your hands or bounces off the sides of the standing mixer bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean sheet of cling film and set aside to rise for 1 hour, punching it once to degas halfway through the time.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 16 pieces, about 50g each. Shape them into small balls and flatten on the surface. Place a chunk of marzipan on each round, brush the edges of the dough with beaten egg and roll tightly around the marzipan, making sure it’s well sealed (you can brush with more egg to be sure).
Place the buns in muffin or bun tins, cover with a tea towel or place in an inflated plastic bag (just blow into it and tie the end!). Leave them to prove in a warm place for about ½ hour while you preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6.
Brush the buns with the remaining egg mixed with a couple of tablespoons of water and bake for 15 minutes until nicely browned.
Cool the buns in the tin for a few minutes, then remove onto a wire rack and dust lightly with icing sugar.