A woman from Rye apparently said that these were the best buns she had ever eaten. Which is nice. They know their buns in Rye.
I was asked to bake for the Great Dixter Autumn Fair cake stall, where various extremely good bakers donate cakes in aid of these wonderful gardens. I thought I would put together all I knew about buns into one deluxe bake: the dough was a sourdough with the addtion of grated apple marinated in cider; ricotta cheese; butter; a little sugar; and an egg. The fruit in the middle was more grated apple and small pieces of dried apple, sultanas, currants and crystalised ginger, all marinated in sweetened cider with the addition of freshly ground cinnamon and cloves. For the rolling of the buns, a thread of marzipan was added to the centre, to give a nice little surprise and additional sweetness.
A stick of marzipan for the middle of the Spiced Apple and Cider Sourdough Buns
The last two buns go to a good home
So that went well. But, as my wife pointed out, the unit cost of each bun was over £5, if you include my time for preparation and the baking. Maybe I will try something less ambitious, next time?
Eventually, I knew, I would have to bake a Babka. Simple enough: an enriched dough, then a buttery layer on top, then roll it up … and then it gets difficult. The dough is sliced longways and platted, like a brioche crown, then placed into a loaf tin to rise and bake. So the dough has to fill out enough to form the loaf shape, with a consistent swirl of filling with each slice.
I tried a loaf with my Taster, Bailey, who couldn’t fault it, so I made two loaves for the Great Dixter Spring Plant Fair Cake Stall.
Two Chocolate and Walnut Babkas, glazed with Sri Lankan coconut treacle
And two very charming women were kind enough to let me photograph the proof that they were edible!
Two charming ladies at the Great Dixter Plant Fair