I now believe that baking is really like a chemistry lab experiment with all the precise measurements and procedures. And you learn from your mistakes specially when you are trying to manipulate the original recipe to suit your diet needs. In baking, its truly important that one understands the use, effects and measurement of each ingredient. This chelsea buns recipe is originally from the book ' Fat-Free Cooking' by 'Anne Sheasby'. She calls for margarine and eggs in her recipe which I have totally eliminated in mine. Substituted a few ingredients like sugar with 'wildflower' honey and pumpkin spice with saffron. So obviously I rechristened these buns as Saffron 'Wildflower' Honey Banana Fatfree Chelsea Buns. Well a long name but an extremely delectable guilt-free eat.
Saffron is the stigma of the saffron crocus flower and used as a spice in sweet and savory dishes. 'Wildflower' honey is the honey got from bees that pollinate on wildflowers. Now both these ingredients being flower extracts I thought I would enter these buns recipe for the SHF #30 Flower Power event.
Recipe (adapted from "Fat-Free Cooking" by "Anne Sheasby")
Makes 9 buns
for the buns
6 tbsp warm fat-free organic milk
1 tsp dry active yeast
pinch of demerara sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp saffron (I used Kashmiri Saffron)
1/2 tsp salt
1 medium sized very ripe banana
1/4 cup wildflower honey
for the filling
1 medium sized very ripe banana
1/2 cup dried figs
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup seeded dates
2 tbsp demerara sugar (light brown sugar can be used too)
for the glaze
wildflower honey (as much as you want)
- Take the warm milk in a cup and sprinkle the yeast on it. Add a pinch of sugar and mix well to activate the yeast. Also add saffron strands to this warm mixture to bring out the flavour and color of saffron. Keep aside for 30 minutes and you will see frothy bubbles due to the yeast being active.
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Mash the banana in a separate container and add honey to it. Add this to the flour along with the yeast and milk mixture while kneading the flour to make a smooth dough. Knead well on a flat surface for 5 minutes to make a nice dough ball. Add flour to make the kneading easier. Transfer the dough ball to the bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel and let it stand for 2 hours for the dough to rise. The ball will almost double in volume.
- For the filling, mash the banana well and add all the chopped dry fruits along with the sugar. Mix well. Make this filling at the end of the 2 hour rising period of the dough ball. Or else the filling will become watery due to banana and sugar (Lesson # 1 that I learnt).
- After the 2 hour rising time of the dough, knead it onto a flat floured surface. Roll out 12 x 9 inch rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough and roll it up along its length as shown. Tuck the seam neatly underneath.
- Cut the roll into 9 buns (serrated knife makes it easier). Spray an 8-inch square pan, and arrange these buns to fit the pan as shown. Cover and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and bake for 18-20 minutes. Watch for the buns tops turning brown earlier than 20 min as the recipe is fat-free. (Lesson #2 I learnt). Brush the hot buns with more honey to form a glaze. Use as much or little honey that you want. Cut and remove the buns from the baking pan immediately after glazing.
- Eat as many as you want.