Fruit Spiced Buns w. Marzipan Butter
The passing of Easter in my corner of the world comes in hand with autumn; daylight begins to dwindle, night time cools and the last of market stone fruits signal bon voyage to the summertime. Hibernation is but awhile away. This year though the early date has left the transition feeling somewhat ahead of time. Despite all intention to meet the celebration with a graceful anticipation I found myself baking buns in late evening hours and scrawling recipes at the breakfast table over the weekend. What can I say; the art of slow living is a faltered journey and a lifetime pursuit. Nevermind though these buns with their sweet spice suit autumnal flavours all season through. A far cry from mainstream versions they are a gluten and dairy free rendition with ground spice and orange peel. Dense with dried fruit and nut they suit toasting and a lather of marzipan butter and also make a rather satisfying breakfast topped with grilled banana, pear and apple.
Being vegan and gluten free these beauties suit most tables and are particularly favourable for those with sensitivities. As an aside I personally have no absolute intolerances, just a finicky digestive system, neither gluten free or vegan meals dominate my plate. I am however of the opinion that the kitchen has become more and more saturated by animal products and heavily refined grains in passing years and there's benefit to be had from a time away. Gluten free often makes a welcome staple for me though I’m just as likely to relish a dark rye or sweet barley grain; there's no absolutes. Diversity should be nurtured and all manner of cookery has its place. If anything it's about finding your own hands in the kitchen; sample the fields; find your truth and work with the best produce to suit what you need; not anyone else. The only truth in my humble opinion is to eat more plants.
Returning to the recipe though; my intended introduction was for psyllium husk. Conventionally gluten gives baked goods their structure and in its absence they’re more likely to fall apart. To counter adding gums such as xanthan gum or guar gum is common though these ingredients can aggravate sensitive digestion in some people. Alternatives include flax seed, chia seed or psyllium husks. From the seeds husks of the plantago ovata plant, psyllium husk is highly beneficial to digestive health. It is a source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, that helps maintain regularity in the bowel and assist with natural toxin removal. Used in traditional medicine for centuries I prefer psyllium in my baking over other options; they all have their place of course but psyllium is a favourite and it works well for these buns to bind the ingredients.
Fruit Spiced Buns with Marzipan Butter / Makes 9 buns
3/4 cup gluten free oats
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup buckwheat
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp psyllium husks
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup dried currants
8 dates, roughly chopped
1/2 cup nuts of your choice (I used a mixture of walnuts and cashews)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of salt
To glaze the buns
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Halve the apples and place them cut side down on a parchment lined baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until the flesh is soft and soaked with syrup. Remove them from the oven and once they have cooled discard their core and puree in a blender or using a hand mixer until smooth.
Meanwhile, if using oats blitz them in a blender or with a hand mixer until ground into a fine meal. In a large mixing bowl add the oat meal, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, salt, spices, chopped nuts and dried fruit and stir to combine. In a small saucepan over low heat combine the coconut oil, almond milk and maple syrup and stir continuously until combined but not boiling. Remove from the heat and fold through the dry active yeast stirring until it’s completely dissolved. Add both the apple puree and wet ingredients to your dry mix and fold gently together. Set it aside for an hour to rest and slightly rise.
Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using your hands lightly knead the dough before shaping approximately a handful of the mixture into a round bun and setting it on the tray. Repeat for the remaining buns. Combine the ingredients for the glaze and pour the mixture evenly over your buns. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and baked through; you can test this by inserting a skewer and checking if it comes out clean.
Once finished set them aside to cool for 5 minutes before serving immediately with the marzipan butter (even fresh this fresh I like to cut and toast the buns to caramelise the dried fruit though they can also be eaten as is). Store the buns for 2 to 3 days at room temperature a fortnight in the fridge or 2 to 3 months in the freezer.
Marzipan Butter / Makes approximately 1 cup
100g almond meal or whole almonds
4 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean, split and scrapped
If using whole almonds blitz them in a blender or with a hand mixer until ground into a fine meal. In a small mixing bowl combine the almond meal, maple syrup and vanilla and fold through until the mixture comes together in a thick paste. If it's a little dry you can add a touch of almond milk to make it more spreadable. Store the marzipan butter in the refrigerator for up to a fortnight.
Seasonal guide / temperate climates
Apples, although no single variety of apple is avaliable year round the number of varieties means that several are always avaliable.
Apple varieties are mostly interchangeable for any recipe thoughroyal gala, golden delicious, red delicious and sundowner are known to be the best for baking. Although not essential for cooking apples typically select fruit that are firm and without bruises or blemishes and store in the refridgerator to maintain freshness.
Almond butter with crushed raspeberries, peanut butter with sliced banana, honey, jam, date syrup, cacao, dark chocolate