When I was a student, I sustained myself through hours of revision with supplies of my favourite pastry – Chelsea Buns from Greggs the baker. Those supersized fluffy mounds of dough, studded with raisins and topped with a sickly white glaze and half a cherry … I chomped my way through a mountain of them.
A few years on (…) and I am as much a fan of sweet dough as ever, but these days I like the flavour of my iced pastries to be a little more sophisticated. Since I vowed to love, honour and obey coffee around the same time that I discovered my love for pastry, I reckon a marriage of the two is long overdue.
Coffee Walnut Swirls
450g strong white flour
50g caster sugar
85g butter, cut into small pieces
7g sachet dried yeast
2 eggs, beaten
150ml full-fat milk
2 tbsps instant espresso powder
For the filling
2 tsp ground cinnamon
85g light brown sugar
For the glaze
3 tbsps strong hot coffee
250g icing sugar
Place the flour, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a mixing bowl, then rub in the pieces of butter until the mix has the texture of breadcrumbs. Tip in the yeast and eggs. Pour in the milk and mix well until you get a soft dough (you may need to add a little more milk). Knead in a mixer with a dough hook for 7 mins or by hand for about 15 mins until the dough is smooth, soft and springy. Tip into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film or a clean tea towel, then leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hr or until doubled in size.
Make the filling: place the cinnamon, sugar and walnuts in a food processor, then whizz until the nuts are finely ground. Punch down the dough and knead to knock out the air, then split the dough in two. Roll and stretch each piece to form a 25 x 35cm rectangle.
Melt the butter for the topping. Brush half all over each rectangle, then sprinkle half the filling mixture over each. Use a rolling pin to press the filling into the dough. Tightly roll each rectangle up from one of the long ends to get a thick log, then pinch the ends together to seal. Cut each log into 8 pieces.
Brush a 20 x 30cm deep baking tray with a little melted butter. Place the rolls on the tray with a 1cm gap between each. Cover with lightly oiled cling film, then keep in a warm place for about 30 mins until lightly risen.
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Remove the cling film from the tray, then bake for 30 mins until the buns are lightly browned and feel firm. Set aside to cool for a little while and make the glaze by mixing the coffee and icing sugar until smooth. Pour over the warm buns and leave to cool.
These are best eaten on the day they are made but can be revived by a quick warm-through in the microwave on day 2.