There's something very productive about having a day off in the middle of the week. I have done lots of cleaning and plenty more planning for our new house. There is still a good bit to do before the baby arrives - and that's not too far away! One of the things on my list is to buy a chest freezer so that I can batch cook a load of meals. That means I won't have to cook too much in the baby's first few weeks.
I'm already starting to feel tired and sluggish after a day of work so some of those meals might come in handy towards the end of my pregnancy! As well as meals, I'm planning to freeze things that I can eat for breakfast or snack on. I'm hoping this will limit the amount of toast that I'll eat. The problem being, I could eat slice after slice of toast because it doesn't really fill me. Before I know it, I've eaten half a loaf of bread.
I can't stock up my freezer without some sort of swirl bun or other. I love them and if I was prepared, I would have one every single day. But sadly, I'm not that organised. Swirl buns freeze really well so they're the perfect thing to pull out of the freezer of a night time and then warm it up a bit for breakfast in the morning. Or keep it cold and dunk it in your coffee (another thing I'll be having a lot of, I think).
Even though we don't have a chest freezer yet, I did make a batch of buns this morning and I am so glad I did. It has been one of things I've wanted to make since we moved but I've not had the mental capacity to do it before today. The wait was worth it, though, because now, forced rhubarb is in season and it's just so deliciously pink and sharp. I love combining rhubarb and rose. Maybe it's because they're both pink? I don't know, but the flavour combination is fantastic. Sharp and sweet and fragrant... what's not to like?
Again, this recipe for the dough is from Bronte Aurell's Fika & Hygge.
Rhubarb, Almond & Rose Swirl Buns
For the dough
1 sachet of fast action dry yeast
250ml whole milk
80g melted and cooled butter
3 tbsp caster sugar
400g strong white flour
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 beaten egg
For the filling
5-6 large stalks of rhubarb
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp rose water
For the syrup
100g caster sugar
25ml rose water
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. Wash the rhubarb really well so you don't get grit in your buns. Cut it up into 5cm pieces and lay them on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle over 2 tbsp of caster sugar and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is bright pink and soft. When it's done, leave it to cool on a wire rack.
While the rhubarb is roasting, warm the milk so that it is just warm to the touch (36 degrees C). If you heat it too far it will kill the yeast. Add the dry yeast and whisk it into the milk. Cover with cling film and let it sit for 15 minutes until it's foamy.
Melt the butter while you're waiting. In a stand mixer, add the milk and yeast mixture when it's ready and then pour in the butter. With a dough hook, mix this for a couple of minutes then add the sugar.
After it's mixed like this for a minute or so, gradually add the flour, salt and cardamom. Once it has all been added, the dough will be very dry so add half of the beaten egg. Knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be stable but a bit sticky. Try not to add too much flour.
Cover the dough in the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for half an hour or until it's doubled in size. While the dough is proving, put your almonds in a food processor and blitz them so that they're roughly chopped. If you don't have a food processor, just chop them with a sharp knife until they're in small rough pieces.
Flour a board or work surface and roll the dough out so that it is 40 x 50cm rectangle. I use one of my chopping boards that is those dimensions and it stops me rolling the dough too thin. If you don't have a board that size, flour a work surface and make an outline to those dimensions in the flour.
When the dough is rolled out, brush it with the melted butter. Sprinkle over the nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Piece by piece, add the cooled rhubarb so that the entire surface of the dough is covered with goodness. Sprinkle the rose water over.
Starting from the long edge closest to you, roll the dough upward towards the other long edge. Keep the dough on the board, it will be very soft so stop it from falling over the short edges of the board.
Cut the log you have now made in half. Then each half in half. Then each quarter into three. This will give you 12 buns. Line a baking dish with greaseproof paper and then place your newly cut rolls into it in a 3 x 4 formation. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for another half an hour.
While your buns are proving, preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. When they are ready, use the remaining half of the egg from when you made the dough to brush the buns before they go into the oven.
Bake the buns for 12 minutes. Turn the tray around and bake them for another 12 minutes. While your buns are in the oven, make the rose syrup. Add all the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let the syrup simmer for 15 minutes then leave to cool slightly.
When the buns come out of the oven, brush them generously with the syrup. Leave the buns on a wire rack to cool completely before you enjoy them. Top with any leftover roasted rhubarb. If you want to freeze them, wrap them individually in greaseproof paper and pop them in the freezer. Take them out the night before and let them defrost overnight, still wrapped, ready for breakfast in the morning.