If you’re after a recipe for a festive brunch treat then look no further than this cranberry & orange bun tree. Perfect for slow Winter mornings over the holidays, when you can take a little longer to prepare breakfast, the spiced tear-and-share buns are filled with tangy orange zest and drizzle, dried and fresh cranberries, pistachios and a spiral of melted marzipan through the middle, making them perfectly warming and indulgent for this time of year. Worth the extra effort, but they will prove quickly in a cosy kitchen! To make them, you will need:
275ml full-fat milk
50g butter, chopped into cubes
450g strong white bread flour
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
50g golden caster sugar, plus 3 tbsp
1 tsp ground cinnamon
flavourless oil, for greasing
200g marzipan, chilled
1 orange, zested and juiced
100g fresh cranberries
100g dried cranberries, plus 1 tbsp
40g pistachios, chopped
3 tbsp apricot jam, sieved
150g icing sugar.
Warm the milk until steaming but not boiling. Remove from the heat and add the butter, swirling to help it melt, then set aside to cool. Meanwhile, mix the flour, yeast, 50g sugar, the cinnamon and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. When the milk is warm, add it to the dry ingredients and combine to make a sticky dough.
Knead for 10 mins by hand, or for 5 mins in the mixer until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Return to a clean, oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave somewhere warm to rise for 1-2 hrs – until doubled in size. Mine took an hour in a warm kitchen!
Line your largest baking sheet with parchment. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll to a rectangle about 30 x 40cm. Grate the marzipan over the surface and scatter over the orange zest, fresh cranberries, 75g dried cranberries, 25g pistachios and 3 tbsp caster sugar. Tightly roll up the dough into a sausage from the long side, pinching it together at the other end to seal the open edge.
Use a sharp knife to divide the sausage of dough first in half, then into quarters, then cut each quarter into three pieces, so you’re left with 12 equal pieces of dough. Arrange on the baking sheet in a tree shape, leaving space between each bun for them to expand. Make sure the pinched edge on the outside of each bun is facing towards the centre of the tree, otherwise it may unravel as it cooks. I made two smaller trees as my tray wasn’t big enough! Cover the sheet in one or two pieces of oiled cling film and leave to prove for 30 -40 mins, or until doubled in size and just touching.
Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-22 mins until golden brown. While the buns cook, heat the apricot jam with 2 tsp water until runny, then set aside to cool. Mix the icing sugar with enough orange juice to make a thick icing. When the buns are cooked, leave to cool for 15 mins, then brush all over with the apricot glaze. Drizzle icing over the top of the buns in random lines. Scatter over the remaining pistachios and dried cranberries and leave the icing to set for 10 mins before serving.
The buns will keep in an airtight container for up to three days. If you can keep them that long!
Recipe for cranberry & orange Chelsea bun tree via BBC Good Food.