These wonderfully sticky lemon and pistachio buns are a tasty twist on cinnamon buns. Whether eaten at breakfast or with an afternoon cuppa, they are the perfect indulgent baked treat.
Combine the milk and caster sugar in a saucepan over a low heat until lukewarm. Remove from heat, transfer to a small bowl and add the yeast. Stir to combine, then set aside for 5 minutes or until frothy.
Sift the flour into the bowl of an electric mixer with a pinch salt. Chop 100g (3 1/2oz) of the butter into 1cm (1/2in) cubes and add to the bowl. Rub into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the beaten eggs. Knead with a dough hook on low speed for 1-2 minutes until combined, then add the yeast mixture. Knead on low speed for a further 8-10 minutes until the dough is soft.
Alternatively, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 12-14 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough is doubled in size.
Meanwhile, place the lemon zest, 100g (3 1/2oz) of the brown sugar and 100g (3 1/2oz) of the pistachios in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Add another 50g (2oz) of the pistachios and pulse until they are roughly chopped.
Knock back the dough on a lightly floured surface, then divide into 2 portions. Dust the top of each portion with bread flour, then roll out on 2 rectangular sheets of nonstick baking paper, each measuring 23cm x 36cm (9in x 14in).
Melt 100g (3 1/2oz) butter and lightly brush a little over each rectangle. With a long edge facing you, gently press half the pistachio mixture into one rectangle, leaving a 3cm (1in) gap along the top edge. Working from the edge closest to you, roll up the dough, making sure to tighten the roll as you go. The baking paper will give you a nonstick surface and allow you to move the rolls easily.
Using the blunt edge of a knife, seal the edge along the seam. Repeat with the second rectangle and the remaining pistachio mixture. Slice each roll into 6 so you have 12 in total.
Meanwhile, roughly chop the remaining pistachios with a knife and set aside. In a bowl, cream the remaining butter and brown sugar and set aside.
Spread the sugar and butter paste evenly over the bottom of a 28cm x 16cm, deep, heavy-based baking dish. Arrange the rolls, cut-side up, evenly around the dish with 2.5cm (1in) spaces between. Cover with clingfilm and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until risen.
Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Remove the clingfilm and bake the buns for 40 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. (Cover with foil if browning too quickly). Set aside to cool slightly.
To make the icing, combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Place the buns, caramelised side down, on a plate. Sprinkle over the reserved pistachios and drizzle with the icing to serve.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Bake according to the recipe but stop before adding decoration or icing. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 3 months.
Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving. If you wish to serve the baked goods warm, place them on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in a moderate oven. Add icing and decoration after the baked goods have fully defrosted and are at room temperature.
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