Sticky syrup, chocolate chunks, soft bread and dripping in creme egg fondant. Oh yes…..love them or hate them, the Creme Egg Chelsea Bun has arrived!
Did any of you catch the #CremeEggBake competition that was advertised recently? Cadburys were looking for people to come up with new ways of baking with the creme egg, something to follow in the footsteps of the now renowned creme egg brownies, invented by Eric Lanlard (cue swoon). Lizzy entered the competition and won a google hangout with the very man himself (sooo envious). Eric recreated her recipe, a creme egg chocolate tart. If you missed it, you can catch up on you tube here and see our very own Lizzy in action.
Last month was a very busy month, so I didn’t get a chance to experiment with a creme egg bake in time to enter the competition. However, this did not stop my mind racing, contemplating all the possibilities. Recently, I’ve been trying out Chelsea buns, both baking and eating! Having never before properly delved into the world of enriched dough baking, I am now well and truly converted. They are remarkably easy to make, yet impressive and oh so tasty.
I was busy making a batch of the traditional cinnamon and fruit ones for a family gathering, when it struck me – a creme egg chelsea bun! The traditional ones are sticky with lashings of syrupy coating, but the bready base means they can take all the sugar without it being tooo tooth-achingly sweet. It dawned on me that creme eggs and chelsea buns could be the perfect pairing.
I searched the internet to see if such a thing already existed, but to no avail! So the experimentation began…….you saw it here first!
I have made these delectable, gooey treats several times now and they’re a roaring success. They would be a great addition to any Easter party and would definitely please guests who don’t like the traditional hot cross bun (although do such people really exist….?!), but make sure you have the napkins at the ready as they are very sticky!
I have played around with the recipe based on feedback people have given me each time. I’ve included my final version of the recipe at the bottom of the post, but, as always, this depends on personal preference. My husband prefers them without the added chocolatey paste in the middle, but Lizzy and I think they’re much better with it.
Note: You may notice throughout the post that some of the photos are of the buns with chocolate paste and chopped chocolate in the middle and some without the chocolate paste. I hope this doesn’t confuse you! Also, you could make your own creme egg fondant for the top of the chelsea bun and just use ordinary chocolate in the middle. Sticky pinny tells you how to make creme egg fondant in her creme egg cupcake blog post. However, Sainsburys were selling packs of 12 standard creme eggs for £4, which seemed reasonable enough, so that’s what I used. I encourage you to adapt the recipe as you see fit!
Make the dough
The first thing to do is to make the dough. It’s really simple, especially if you use a dough hook on your machine = no kneading! I find this works much better for me, because the dough is very sticky and messy. When kneading by hand, I end up adding a lot of additional flour, which risks making the buns dry. If you don’t have a dough hook (or if you’re more adept at kneading than I am) it works fine kneading by hand too – it’s just a bit messier.
Kneading is finished when the dough is elastic, and comes away from the sides of the bowl (if using a dough hook). Pop the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm to avoid a skin developing. Leave to prove until doubled in size. This will take at least an hour, but may take more if it’s not in a particularly warm place (up to 3 hours).
Prepare the filling
While the dough is proving, it’s important to get ready for the next step. You don’t want to roll out the dough only to realise you haven’t prepared the filling (yes this has happened to me).
Cut the 12 creme eggs in half, scoop out the fondant and keep them separate to one another, so you have 12 in total. I tried doing this both at room temperature and when they were cold. I found it slightly easier to scoop the fondant out at room temperature, but both ways seemed easy enough. I put the fondant centres onto a plate – bit of mistake! I should have put them onto greaseproof paper to make them easier to take off later. Chop up the creme egg chocolate into pieces, about the size of raisins.
If you are using chocolate paste, make it at this stage, with softened butter, brown sugar and cocoa.
Roll the dough
When the dough has proved, scoop it out of the bowl and shape it into a rectangle. Then roll out into a large rectangle on a well-floured surface. Tack one length of the rectangle down onto the table (nearest you). Spread the chocolate paste all over, using your fingers.
Sprinkle the creme egg chocolate over the top. Make sure you reserve the fondant centres for later.
Roll the rectangle up tightly, finishing at the length you tacked to the table.
Cut into 12 sections and discard the 2 ends. (Paul Hollywood suggests 9, but I prefer the slightly smaller size – if you want to do 9 large ones, then you will only need to use 9 creme eggs).
Prove and bake
Place in a baking tray, about 1cm apart, as they will grow again.
Leave to prove for another half an hour, and then bake in the oven.
Make sugar syrup
Make sugar syrup, ready to pour over buns as soon as they come out of the oven.
Leave to cool and then move onto a wire rack.
Put the fondant centres onto each bun, just shortly before serving. The fondant goes very runny and if you leave it for even just a few hours it will almost disappear (still tasty of course, but not so fun looking!). Don’t worry about being too neat as the fondant will start gliding down the sides in no time.
I did this using a spoon. On reflection (hindsight is a wonderful thing), if I had put them onto greaseproof paper in the first place, and popped them in the freezer, I could probably have just lifted them off really easily.
When you first put the fondant on, it won’t look like very much topping, don’t fret! The fondant oozes and glides down all the crevices fairly quickly.
Finish off with a halved mini creme egg on top, and you’re done! Eggs-ellent ;)
Creme Egg Chelsea Buns – Recipe
A soft, enriched bread rolled up with chocolatey paste and chocolate chunks, dripping with creme egg fondant and adorned with a halved mini creme egg.
Recipe adapted from Paul Hollywood’s Chelsea Buns.
500g strong white flour,plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet fast-acting yeast
40g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the tin
- 40g caster sugar
vegetable oil, for greasing
- For the filling
25g unsalted butter, softened
75g soft brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
12 standard creme eggs, chocolate only
- For the sugar syrup
50g caster sugar
- To finish
12 creme eggs, fondant only
6 mini creme eggs, halved
- Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast.
- Warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the butter is melted and the mixture is lukewarm. Pour into the flour mixture, add the egg and stir thoroughly until the contents of the bowl come together as a soft dough.
- Use your dough hook or tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead well for five minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl and leave to rise, covered with clingfilm, for one hour or until doubled in size.
- Scoop out the centres of the 12 creme eggs and put on a plate covered in greaseproof paper. Make sure you keep the centres separate from each other. Pop in the freezer until later.
- Chop the remaining creme egg chocolate (from the 12 creme eggs), into pieces about the size of raisins.
- Make the chocolate paste by combining brown sugar and cocoa with very softened butter, using a fork to beat it together into a paste.
- Line a deep roasting tin or baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- When the dough has doubled in size, tip out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out into a rectangle about 30x20cm/12x8in.
- Smooth the chocolate paste all over with your fingers and sprinkle with chopped chocolate from the 12 creme eggs.
- Tack down the long side of the dough rectangle nearest to you by pressing it down onto the work surface with your thumb. Roll the opposite long side of the dough towards you quite tightly, until the roll is complete and tight. With a sharp knife cut into 12 slices, discarding the 2 ends.
- Place the buns, cut side up, into the greased baking tray leaving about 1cm of space between each one. You want them to be close enough so that when they rise further and then bake, they will bake with their sides touching. They can then be pulled apart and you get a lovely soft edge.
- Leave to rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place.
- Preheat oven to 190C (170 fan)/375F/Gas 5.
- When the buns are ready, put them in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until golden-brown. Check after 15 minutes or so and cover the buns with foil if they are getting too brown.
- Make sugar syrup, bu adding 2 tbsp of water to the sugar in a pan and simmering on a low heat until the sugar is melted and it starts to go syrupy.
- Remove the buns from the oven and pour sugar syrup over the top.
- Let them cool slightly before transferring them from the tin to a cooling rack.
- Once totally cooled, and just shortly before serving, get the creme egg fondant centres out of the freezer and transfer one onto the top of each bun. Garnish with a halved mini creme egg.