Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Lemon & Almond Buns - A Random Recipe

There always comes a time when there's a change of routine when you need to bring out the big guns. It's a watershed moment that can be easy to spot if you've experienced it a few times. 

Things are different, no-one's really settled into whatever the change is. Comfort and indulgence is the order of the day to get everyone over the hump and get on with the rest of whatever it is.

Comfort came bun shaped today
I've observed this on Scout Camp the last few years. usually around Day 3. That's when we pull out the biscuits and the hot chocolate at bed time, do some mass jollying along.

Here in the RJ household, we had our own jollying along moment on Sunday morning.

The Husband headed off last Monday for what is probably the longest time he's been away from us since he left the Army. While he's sitting in the desert, surrounded by 'MaMBA' (No, not snakes, Miles and Miles of Bugger All), posting the occasional photo of a lizard on Facebook, Blue, Pink, Fred the Dog, the chickens and I have been trying to sort out a new modus operandi, not required for the shorter trips he's often making. There has been a Daddy-less 7th birthday and a couple of late nights because somehow things have slipped. There has been fractious bickering, there have been tears. The kids are responsible for feeding the chickens and watering the greenhouse - I am responsible for making sure they remember they are responsible. There has been an angry moment (mine) with the lawn mower (don't go there), and more tears (the kids) when the internet occasionally fails to allow Skype to work for the brief period of time when a conversation with Daddy is appropriate.

When I selected my Random Recipe for Dom's challenge for this month -  'Bread' , I wasn't really sure when I'd get round to baking and entering the challenge. My selection of bread baking books and bread baking sections of books included the Sweet & Fruit breads chapter in 'Short & Sweet' by Dan Lepard, and this recipe was where my page flicking ended up. Lemon & Almond Buns - "... a lemon flavoured butter dough that bakes like brioche around a gooey core of marzipan..." Delicious, sure, but a month full of camping, working out my notice at work and preparing to go freelance, sailing the ship on my own, I wasn't sure that there would be time.

Well, may be there wasn't time, but what became apparent over Saturday was that time or not, the kids needed some indulgence. This would normally have been a cinammon bun moment, but instead, the moment for Lemon & Almond Buns arose.

Now, having already fallen foul of Mr Lepard's rather zealous business manager in the past check out the comments), I am not going to even begin to repeat the recipe here. However for those of you wishing to recreate these beautiful buns, you will be pleased to know that they were published in the Guardian Online in 2006 and you can find the recipe here.

Pretty straightforward, although you need to start the night before to get a rough dough into the fridge, and if you want them for breakfast before about 9, you need to be up just before 7, which is fine unless you've had more than a couple of glasses of morale boosting wine with your lovely and supportive neighbours after you've manhandled the kids into bed, tears wiped, stories read,  in which case you might end up having breakfast a little later on...

It's an enriched, lemon scented bread dough which needs little kneading.

From this...

You roll it out into a 70cm by 10cm rectangle, 

to this

then put a sausage of marzipan into the middle of the rectangle and seal the dough over it before slicing into pieces, proving and baking.

The only thing that I can tell you about the recipe is that I had no flaked almonds in, so instead of brushing the cooked buns with melted butter, sprinkling with toasted flaked almonds and dredging with icing sugar, I made up a runny lemon icing using the juice of a lemon (the zest had already gone into the dough), and then sprinkled with poppy seeds.

What can I say? The lemony brioche type bread was light, lemony (as promised) and delicious. The marzipan was oozy and heavenly. The kids LOVED it, and have requested a repeat performance next week, and the next. And strangely enough, everything calmed down today. 

10 days to go...


  1. So hysterical that everyone who's entered a Dan Lepard recipe into this months random recipes has said the same thing... Still smarts doesn't it but the bugger still makes damn good bread! This gorgeous bun looks just that and I could sink my teeth into it happily. Thanks for entering. X

  2. These buns look very comforting! I am glad they have done the trick!

    1. Rather too comforting - all 9 disappeared rather quickly...

  3. My husband is still traveling (off to Paris for two nights just now which is not long enough to justify the cost of accompanying him - damn it) but I vividly remember the days when our girls were still at home. I had one or the other sobbing most nights, "I MISS Dad-deeeeeee!" Meanwhile, your wonderful random loaf is gorgeous. Aren't neighbors who will share a glass with you without guilt or recrimination the best?

  4. Golly those look good! Especially the gooey marzipan bit. Perfect comfort food.
    Over half way now? Can you call/skype? Hope time isn't dragging too much.
    Btw made your choc cake for eldest's birthday and he said it was the best cake he'd ever had :) xx

    1. ooo glad the cake was a success - I made it again for Pink's birthday too. Yes, he's back at some point mid-week next week, and skype has worked reasonably well. Time's going pretty quickly for me and I've got a busy weekend/start of half term (taking the kids camping on my own...) lined up so it will go in a flash

  5. Lemon, almond brioche sounds wonderful. I bet the kitchen smelled amazing. Well I know what you're saying, Adam is away almost every week, Singapore this week, Australia last, US the week before..Personally I think it's the secret to a long marriage :) JOKING! Eyebrows raised at the comment from DL's team..

    1. ;-) I have to say that I do start getting twitchy if he DOESN'T have somewhere to go for at least a night every fortnight or so, but it's when it's over a weekend (or 2, and half term) that it gets me... You are right, Table, the kitchen was a fug of gloriousness all Sunday morning.

  6. Oh I love oozy marzipan - will have to give these a go. Well done managing on your own. I have 3 days on my own next week with two boys and three dogs and that's gonna be bad enough for me. I prob won't take your advice about baking something comforting - I will prob cheat and but lots of sweet stodge instead.

  7. I had a run in with Dan's business manager/partner some time ago and it was all rather unpleasant.

    Although his book sits on my bookcase I have never felt the desire to open it since then, almost as if there is an invisible war shield around it!

    These look lovely though, so well done!

    1. Yes, I feel the same too - just getting over it I think, and i couldn't leave the book out of the challenge...

  8. Oh my this look gorgeous. What a great recipe. Must make me this even though I have boycotted buying the book as my sister had a rude experience with Dan Lepard's business people too. Not a good reputation to have.


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