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    John Whaite’s mincemeat & marzipan buns

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    John Whaite’s mincemeat & marzipan buns

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes + proving and cooling
    • Cooking time: 15 minutes

    Serves: 12

    Ingredients

    250g plain flour
    250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
    5g fine salt
    10g caster sugar
    7g sachet fast-action yeast
    120ml milk, at room temperature
    1 British Blacktail Free Range Large Egg
    40g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
    Oil, for greasing

    For the filling and icing
    410g jar mincemeat
    150g golden marzipan, cut into 5mm cubes
    1tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
    150g icing sugar, sifted
    3-4 tsp orange or clementine juice 

    Method

    1. To make the dough, place the flours in a bowl and stir in the salt and sugar. Add the yeast and stir it through the flour. Add 150ml room-temperature water, the milk, egg and butter and mix well with a wooden spoon or your hands, until you have a scraggy dough. Either knead by hand until the mixture is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, or use a freestanding electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, which will take 5-6 minutes. See Cook’s tips, below.

    2. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, roll the dough in the oil to coat, then cover and allow to rise until doubled in size – usually an hour but it could be more if your kitchen is cool. To make the dough easier to handle once risen, chill it in the freezer for 10 minutes before starting step 3.

    3. Grease a 12-hole muffin tray with some oil. Once the dough has risen, flour the worktop and roll the dough out into a 45x45cm square. Spread the mincemeat over the dough, scatter the marzipan cubes, then sprinkle with 1 tsp cinnamon. Roll up into a tight spiral, using a pastry brush to dust any excess flour away from the underneath of the dough as you roll. Pinch the seam together, then pat the dough to make it onto a more even log in length and width. Trim off the messy ends, then cut into 12 slices – the best way is to use a clean piece of unflavoured dental floss to ‘garotte’ the dough spiral into portions. Place each slice, spiral-side up, into the muffin tray. Cover with a clean tea towel, then allow to rise for another 30 minutes – 1 hour, until puffed up.

    4. Preheat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7. Bake the buns for 12-15 minutes, or until risen and golden. Remove from the tin immediately and place onto a wire rack to cool. For the topping, mix together the icing sugar and orange juice to a thick but pourable icing. Ice the cooled buns and dust with a little extra cinnamon before serving. These are best eaten on the day of baking; see Cook’s tips for more info.  

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    Cook’s tips

    If you have a freestanding mixer, hold the dough hook and manually bring the dough together. This prevents clouds of flour from puffing up from the bowl when you turn the mixer on. Attach the hook to the machine and knead until smooth and elastic.

    The dough can be risen overnight in the fridge, if you prefer. Or, the shaped buns can be left to prove in the fridge overnight. Simply allow them to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. If you have baked the buns the day before, warm them for a few minutes in a moderate oven before icing.

    Any leftover mincemeat can be heated and spooned over ice cream or Greek yogurt. Or try it folded through American pancake batter or a basic sponge mix before cooking. Mixing it into the apple before baking when making a pie, crumble or strudel also works really well.

    To avoid waste, the trimmed ends can be baked on an oiled baking tray on the shelf below the buns and enjoyed as the baker’s perk.
     

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