CHERRY, VANILLA + WALNUT STICKY BUNS
For the dough
Mix together 500g flour, 50g sugar, 1/2tsp salt, and 15g fresh yeast (get this! it’s amazing and cheap. or if not, you can use half that amount of regular active dried yeast). Combine 75g unsalted butter and 150ml milk – Nigella says to melt them together in the microwave, which worked just fine – and beat in 2 eggs. Add this liquid mixture to the dry stuff, mix it up, make some dough. Then knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and pliable, and form into a big doughy ball. Butter (or oil) a large bowl and roll the dough in it (so that it’s coated in butter), then cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean, moist tea towel. Let it sit for a while in a warm place (hot water cupboard? in the oven on the very lowest setting? or maybe your house is naturally warm?) for about an hour, until doubled in size.
Go do something else for a bit and when you come back the dough should be gloriously proud and puffy and smooshy; knock it around a bit and give it a knead or two to bring it back down to size. Roll out on a floured surface into a flat, long rectangular shape (Nigella says 60x30cm, but I didn’t measure) and slather the filling mixture all over the dough.
Here’s where things get a bit tricky. Since I was using dud cherry-vanilla jam that was too sticky to spread, I softened about 250g jam in about 100g melted butter and spooned this concoction over the top. Since I don’t recommend going to the effort of making homemade dud-jam (I mean, you can…), you could do one of a couple things:
1. You could mix non-dud jam with a little less butter (maybe 50-75g depending on the consistency of your jam) and 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract and spread this over the dough.
2. Or you could skip the jam altogether and pour over 50-75g melted butter mixed with 1 tsp vanilla paste/extract and sprinkle about 1/2 cup sugar over the whole thing, and scatter dried cherries all over the surface. It’ll turn out a bit different, but still good – think raisin-studded cinnamon roll.
Whatever you end up doing, eventually you”ll sprinkle more or less 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts over the whole thing, and carefully roll it up lengthwise so you end up with a long, python-like hunk of dough (okay, maybe not that big, but sort of thick and snaky). Be sure to keep things tight but not too squashed together.
Cut into slices like you’re making sushi (and, if you’re anything like me when I make sushi, eat the raggedy end bits before anyone sees). I cut mine about 1 – 1 1/2 inches thick. Place into a buttered baking tray – it’s okay if they’re pretty close together – and let prove for 20-30 minutes. This is a good time to preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
When the buns have proved, and are nice and puffy and cosily tucked in together in their tray, pop this into the oven for 20-25 minutes and wait for your house to start smelling incredible.
When they’re done, you can eat them plain, or you can drizzle with a simple white icing– I usually start with 1 tbsp milk for every 1 cup icing sugar and add more milk and/or sugar as needed to make a gooey, not-too-runny icing.