15 January 2010

Happy birthday Edna: Cranberry-ginger swirly buns

A few years ago I, along with a number of bloggers, celebrated the life of my dear friend Edna Staebler with an event called A Day That Really Shmecks.

I wanted to continue celebrating her life, on her birthday, but life happened and continues to do so. This year I may have not resurrected the event, but I am event this year but I'm celebrating Edna today. Maybe next year I'll get my act together and ask people to join me.

One of my ways of showing others I care is to cook for them. Rarely intricate, occasionally zhuzhed, I will occasionally appear, dish in hand with something I hope is as equally heart warming as it is tummy warming.

A kitchen filled with the comfortingly warm scent of freshly made bread will make the world a better place. It's a life axiom. So when a friend was hit with a bit of shocking news earlier this week...the kind where the fug of words just suck away oxygen and thought, I wanted to do something to let her know that that she's thought of and I care. Swirly buns must be made
Edna's Neil's Harbour Bread recipe has become my jump point when making anything of this ilk. The recipe has never failed me and I find almost infinitely forgiveable. In fact the only time it begrudgingly gave me a loaf was when I accidently slashed the top of the loaf prior to baking: the texture remained gorgous, but instead of a wonderful domed crust, a flattened lid formed.
This variation used a warmed, thinned yoghurt instead of water and an improvised filling. I'm not convinced you actually need a recipe for the swirl of any swirled bun (cinnamon buns, included)--just brush with melted butter and sprinkle with as much spiced sugar as you want and then sprinkle handfuls of fruit and or nuts. And yes, you can forgo the sugar and spread chocolate, caramel or go a savoury route and use a cream cheese doctored with herbs, onions or veggies.

Cranberry-ginger swirly buns

85ml hand-hot water
1/2tsp sugar
1dspn traditional yeast
60ml yoghurt dissolved with 100ml hot (but not boiling) water
35g sugar
1tsp salt
40ml canola or some other flavourless oil
420g ap flour (plus more, if necessary)
Melted butter
3Tbsp brown sugar
2Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1/2-1tsp powdered ginger
a couple of handfuls of dried cranberries

Dissolve the yeast and half teaspoon of sugar in the hand-hot water. Let sit for about 10 or 15 minutes until a frothy head has formed.

Whisk in the yoghurty mixture, 35g sugar, salt and oil.

Work in the flour, about a cup at a time, mixing until you have a floppily moist, but easily handled dough. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead, sprinkling in as much flour as the dough needs--until smooth and elastic but still slightly sticky.

Plop the dough into a well-oiled bowl and cover with a damp teatowel, well-oiled piece of cling or waxed paper. Set to double in volume in a warm place free of drafts or other disturbances--somewhere in the 1-2 hour range.

Butter an appropriately-sized baking dish (24cm (8") square if you want nine buns; 23cm x 33cm (9" x 13") if you want a dozen).

Mix the remaining sugars, salt and ginger together.

When the dough has grown to the appropriate size, give it the poke test. By this I mean deeply poke the dough with your index and middle fingers. If the indentations stay, the dough is ready to be worked. If they fill in quickly, then the dough needs rise a bit longer.

When the dough passes, knead it again and then roll it out into a rectangle-I really don't measure, but roughly 30cm x 45cm (12" x 18"). Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with gingery-sugar mixture. Strew the cranberries, on top.

Roll it up, so you have a 45cm-long roll. Cut into the appropriate number of pieces and set into the greased pan, spaced apart to give them enough time to grow.

Return to that warm place, free of drafts and other disturbances, for about an hour, to let the buns grow.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Brush the tops with melted butter and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

When cooled, cut the individual buns. Glaze as, how and if you wish.


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Jenny said...

If you decide to revive this tradition next year, put me on your list! I think the day that really schmecks sounds like such a great tribute day, and I know we all have Edna Staeblers in our lives.


Erin said...

Yummy swirly buns! I agree about what you said about showing people care about them by cooking for them. I'm the same way. :)

jasmine said...

Hello all

Thanks for your comments. Hopefully I'll get my act together for 2011 and bring back the event :)