Cinnamon iced buns with spiced pumpkin jam

These are the iced buns that almost never were. They are my entry to the final challenge for the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2015 challenge, and the final coincided with a ridiculously busy week with work opportunities and a baby who decided to be awake for several hours in the middle of the night for days on end. And then, when I did finally decide to make them I forgot to put the yeast in! Luckily I remembered after 10 minutes and kneaded it in and it worked out just fine. I followed the Paul Hollywood iced fingers recipe for the dough.

Cinnamon iced buns with spiced pumpkin jam

These cinnamon iced buns were absolutely delicious. Both of the older kids loved them - although that could of course be the enormous amount of sugar in the jam! And I got a group of friends to taste test them this afternoon - with positive results. All in all I'm really pleased with this recipe.

Of course I had to create an iced bun recipe that included a vegetable in some way so I opted for pumpkin pie flavoured jam. I'd never actually made jam before and even after 30 minutes of cooking it didn't even come close to reaching the required 104°C setting point - which either means it was never going to or my thermometer is bust. As I wasn't planning to jar it, I was happy that it tasted amazing and was thick enough to spread so I just went with it. I guess what I'm saying - is don't trust the jam recipe if you're going to bottle it! Instead check out this recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall which was my starting point.

For the buns
500g strong white flour
50g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter, softened
2 free range eggs
2 x 7g sachets instant yeast
2 tsp salt
150ml warm milk
140ml water

For the icing
200g icing sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
5-6 tsp water

For the jam
400g puréed pumpkin, fresh or canned
400g caster sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
2 star anise
4 cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
zest and juice of a lemon

To make the dough put all the ingredients in a bowl, keeping back 35ml of water. Stir it with your hands then slowly add the rest of the water if needed to make a dough and knead in the bowl for four minutes. I found this dough to be too wet to work with with all the water added so I had to add extra flour (I estimate around 50g). I would recommend adding this extra bit of water very carefully.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead well for ten minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Put the dough into a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (you can tell from the photos that I did this in a rush and my pieces weren't very equal!), roll into balls then shape into fingers, measuring 12-13cm long. Put them on a greased baking tray, leaving space for them to double in size, then set aside in a warm place for 40 minutes. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then set aside to cool.

To make the icing sift the cinnamon and icing sugar together into a bowl and gradually stir in the water until you have a thick paste. Dip the top of the iced buns into the icing, then leave to set.

To make the jam (you can do this in advance) put all the ingredients together into a saucepan. Cook on a low heat for two minutes, then bring to the boil. Keep the pan bubbling away for 20-30 minutes until it thickens. In theory it's meant to reach a temperature of 104°C, or setting point, which mine didn't - but it was thick enough for the purposes of this recipe. Fish out the whole spices and leave to cool completely before cutting the iced buns in half and spreading or piping in the centre. NB: there was about twice as much jam as I needed, you could either spread it thicker or use up the rest on toast!

Traditionally these buns would include whipped cream as well but I decided that these didn't need it - and I think I made the right call.

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