Give these seasonal rhubarb and custard buns a swirl

Here’s a twist on the traditional cinnamon roll, drizzled with a custard glaze

 

My dad gave me a huge bouquet of homegrown rhubarb at the weekend. I just adore rhubarb in all its forms. Lately I’ve cooking chopped rhubarb in a pan with a few tablespoons of marmalade, then leaving it to simmer and soften in the citrus sweetness. Marbled through thick yogurt or cream, it makes the perfect seasonal fruit fool. It’s an ideal breakfast with yogurt and granola.

I love classic combinations and believe that there’s no reason to tamper with something that doesn’t need fixing. So I will always stick to the rhubarb-and-custard pairing as it works on so many levels; the custard brings a blanket of sweetness and smooth texture over the rhubarb’s sharp fruitiness. This recipe is a twist on the traditional cinnamon roll. These rich buns are layered with a swirl of finely chopped rhubarb and then drizzled with a custard glaze. It’s the perfect brunch dough, an excellent bake for giving and is pure spring.

If you’ve never made a sweet milk-based dough then give this one a swirl. It’s incredibly easy once you get the temperature of the milk right and don’t kill the yeast. This dough is pure joy to work with, incredibly soft due to the milk, butter and high gluten from the strong bread flour. It puffs up beautifully in a warm kitchen. I sometimes make double the batch of dough and layer one with chocolate spread, then twist it into a babka swirl and bake in a loaf tin. A memorable treat for weekend breakfast for my children.

Rhubarb Swirls with custard glaze
Makes 9

175ml milk
2¼ tsp instant yeast
55g sugar
1 egg & 1 egg yolk
55g butter, melted and cooled
390g strong flour
2 tbsp soft butter
100g rhubarb
20g sugar

For the glaze:

1 tsp custard powder
100g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Milk

Warm the milk to blood temperature, about 44C.

Pour the milk into the bowl of your mixer. Add the yeast and leave to bubble for a few minutes before adding the sugar, egg, egg yolk and melted butter. Mix well.

Next add the flour and mix slowly until well combined. Now you can use the dough hook to knead it for a good 6-8 minutes until it forms a smooth but sticky dough. This can all be done by hand too, with a kneading time of 8-10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm (a shower cap works really well too) and a tea towel. Keep in a warm place until doubled in size; this can take 60-90 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop the rhubarb into tiny dice. Stir the rhubarb with the sugar and set aside.

Flour your worktop and, once the dough is ready, roll it out into a 9in by 14in rectangle. Spread the soft butter over the dough then scatter with the sugared rhubarb, leaving a border around the edges. Starting at the 9in side, roll the dough neatly and confidently into a swiss roll shape, ending seam side down. Use a serrated knife to cut 9 one-inch swirls. Line a 9in round tin with parchment and arrange the buns in the tin. Leave to rest for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C. Bake for 25 minutes until just turning golden brown.

Mix the icing sugar, custard powder, vanilla and 2 tbsp milk together until it forms a smooth paste. Keep adding milk until it becomes like very thick pouring cream.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes before drizzling with the custard glaze.

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