24 febbraio 2015

Black Forest Buns

Traditional Black Forest cake is all about chocolate cake, cherry compote and kirsch (cherry brandy) and loads of cream. 
For this month's challenge of Aparna's group We Knead to Bake she chose a little variation, Black Forest Buns, a sort of sweet bread,  using chocolate cake and cherry compote in the filling. You could always flavour the compote with a little kirsch if you want to aim for the “real deal” in terms of flavour.
For Black Forest Buns the obvious choice of jam to use would be cherry but you can always substitute with strawberry jam or any red berry one.
The method of kneading, rolling out the dough, covering it with the filling, and then rolling it back is not too difficult, just like making cinnamon rolls.
Finely chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips can be spread onto the filling to give more flavour if you like.

 Ingredients for 12 buns:

For the Dough:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
50 gm butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg (at room temperature, optional)
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
3 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:

3/4 cup cherry/ strawberry jam or compote
2 1/2 to 3 cups crumbled chocolate sponge cake
(for me 3 or 4 chocolate muffins)

For drizzling:

1/2 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate

Pour the water and milk in a saucepan, and heat onthe egg.
You may knead the dough by hand or in the processor which is my usual preference. Pour the lukewarm mixture into the processor bowl (if using) and add the yeast and the egg. Pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add about 1 cup of the flour and mix well. Add the salt and more flour, as much as is necessary, and knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic but not sticky.
Add in the salt and some more flour and mix. Once the mixture becomes difficult to mix, turn it out onto your work surface. Add more flour and continue to knead for about 10 minutes till the dough is not sticky and elastic.
Place the kneaded dough in an oiled bowl, turning the dough till lightly coated with oil. Cover loosely, and allow to double in volume, for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
Now place the dough on a flat surface and roll it out into an approximately 18” by 12” rectangle (or 9" by 12" if using half the recipe).
Spread the jam over the leaving a 1/2 inch all around. Sprinkle the chocolate cake crumbs on top of this. Roll the dough away from you, as snugly as possible, starting with the 18” edge like a jam/jelly roll (as for cinnamon buns). Try to pinch the dough closed as best as possible, or dampen the edge with a little water to seal well.
Cut the roll into 1 1/2" wide pieces with a very sharp knife/dough scraper. You should have 12 pieces for the full recipe and 6 for half of it.  Place each piece in a mould (or make collars using foil or parchment paper to fit well around each piece) and then on a baking tray. Otherwise place them in a cake tin leaving enough space for them to expand. If you place them too far apart, they will spread rather rise in height.  Cover loosely, and allow to rise, for about 1 hour or till almost double.
Bake at 180° for 25/30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Drizzle with melted chocolate and serve.

Just make sure you roll the dough, with the filling, as tightly as you can and well because these buns swell up quite a bit.

 This recipe also goes to Susan's weekly YeastSpotting.

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