Monday, 25 February 2013

Darázsfészek Walnut Bun Cake

Variations on this tasty treat can be found all over Europe. In Hungarian it literally translates "wasp's nest" and is usually made with walnuts, cocoa or cinnamon. Makes a great brunch or delicious breakfast buns but it's also great as a celebration cake to have around any holidays or take it to your friend's house as a present. It can be baked in a round tin or a square roasting tray but make sure the dish is deep enough for the buns to rise. A couple of things make this cake really soft and fluffy, one of them is scalding the milk with the butter before adding it cooled down to the dough. And the other is brushing the buns with hot sweet milk while they are baking. This will also add a lovely shiny glow to its finish. This quantity will fill a large 30x40 baking dish. But I wanted to make round cakes so I used a 23cm round and a smaller 20cm cake tin. It freezes well if you are not likely to finish the whole lot in a hurry. Best served with fresh vanilla custard.

For the dough:
500g plain flour
7g dried yeast
50g icing sugar
60g butter
200ml milk
pinch of salt
3 eggs, beaten

200g walnuts, ground to a coarse breadcrumb texture with a food processor
100g butter
100g icing sugar

For the top:
150ml milk
50g granulated sugar
few drops of vanilla extract

First make the dough. Heat up the milk with the butter until almost boiling, then let it cool to room temperature. Sift the flour, yeast, icing sugar, salt into a bowl and mix well.  Add the beaten eggs and then the lukewarm milky butter mix. Mix thoroughly and knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough comes off the sides of the dish. Either leave in a warm place to double in size for about an hour, or leave it in the fridge overnight for slow cold fermenting like I did. You achieve the same result but the latter gives you a more stable, more digestible and easier to handle dough that will be ready for baking in the morning. When you are ready to bake, bring the dough to room temperature for 30 minutes if it's in the fridge. Knead it briefly on a floured surface, then divide into two. Roll out each to a 30x40cm rectangle shape. Brush it with melted butter, sprinkle with icing sugar and walnut equally divided between the two. Roll up from the longer end and cut up into 5cm discs. You will get around 16-18 buns. Place them into a buttered baking dish or cake tin, loosely next to each other and put the tin(s) in the oven, then switch the oven on 180C/gas mark 4. While the oven is warming up, the buns will have time to prove once again. From that point it takes around 30 minutes to bake them ready, during which time you can warm up the milk with the sugar and vanilla until almost boiling, and brush the buns with the milk as soon as they start to colour a couple of times while baking. My oven is really fierce so I covered the cakes with tinfoil once they reached a nice golden colour. It is done when the testing skewer comes out clean. Leave it to cool on a wire rack and it will keep fresh for a couple of days or also freezes well. Defrost thoroughly and warm up in the oven for 5 minutes before serving it with fresh vanilla custard.


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