FOR THE BUN DOUGH:
250ml whole milk, heated to 36–37°C
25g fresh yeast
80g butter, melted and cooled slightly
40g caster/superfine sugar
400–500g white strong bread flour
2 teaspoons of ground cardamom
1 teaspoon of salt
1 egg, beaten
FOR THE FILLING:
400g shop-bought jar of mincemeat
100g sugar (for the sugar syrup)
Pearl/nibbed sugar (optional)
FOR THE CINNAMON FILLING (OPTIONAL):
100g soft butter
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon plain/all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
To make the bun dough, put the warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast and stir until dissolved. Add the cooled, melted butter. Allow to combine with the yeast for a minute or so, then add the sugar and leave for another minute.
Place 400g of the flour in another bowl. Mix in the cardamom and salt. Start adding the flour mixture into the milk bit by bit. Add half the beaten egg and knead for five minutes. You may need to add more flour to get a dough that’s a bit sticky, but not so much that it sticks to your finger if you poke it. It’s better not to add too much flour as this will result in dry buns – you can always add more later.
Leave the dough in the bowl in a warm place, covered with a tea towel/ dish towel or clingfilm/plastic wrap. Allow to rise for around 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Dust your work surface with flour and turn the dough onto it. Using your hands, knead the dough and work in more flour if needed, then roll it out to a 40 x 50-cm rectangle.
Spread the mincemeat across the dough in a thin, even layer. You may have some left over, but keep the layer thin. Roll the dough lengthways into a long roll and slice into 16 pieces.
Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, cover and leave to rise for another 20 minutes.
Brush the buns lightly with beaten egg, then bake for 6–9 minutes, or until golden. They can burn easily, so keep an eye on them.
To make the sugar syrup, in a pan heat 50ml of water with the sugar until bubbling and melted. When the buns come out of the oven, immediately brush lightly with the syrup, then scatter over pearl/nibbed sugar, if using.
Cover with a damp tea towel/dish towel to stop them going dry and leave to cool.
For cinnamon buns, mix the filling ingredients together until smooth and spread onto the rolled-out dough. Proceed as above.