I can feel the cooler temperatures in the breeze today and for me, it is such a relief to experience the drop of air pressure that says fall is on its way here. The last of the seasonal fruits are getting ready for harvest, grapes, plums, pears and of course, apples. Mabon is coming and since solar festivals are about the rhythms of the Earth/Sun relationship and our connection to them, it is understandable that these ripe fruits are a popular addition to any feast table while in no way ruling out a use at a Sunday morning brunch or afternoon tea break.
Apples hold a special significance. Beyond the connection to what is also called Hallowe’en and activities like bobbing for apples, there is the significant imagery of slicing the apple in half lengthwise that reveals the five pointed star, a symbol of the five elements active in the physical world. There is also a strong connection to Glastonbury and her ancient history and traditions.
Cooked apples are a comfort food. Whether in crisps, pies or buns, they offer us a sense of home.
You will need:
3 1/2 – 4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast or one package
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
2 Tbsp. rum
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 – 4 Tbsp. milk
With gratitude for the harvest and appreciation for all the other good things in your life, bring your focus to the task at hand. We have the ability to simply collect the ingredients. There is no need to first harvest, dry and grind the flour, make the cheese or trade for the rum. For all the nigglies that may be in our lives, there are also blessings and keeping focus on the good things will serve you well. Breath deep, hold and release. Repeat as needed, offer thanks and begin.
Prepare your pan(s) by greasing. A 9 x 13 inch will work for the full recipe. I used a spring form and an 8 x 8 pan as I was baking for two events. The spring form was greased and a parchment circle was inserted in the bottom to make it easier to release from the pan. If the sugars cool too long after baking, they can stick to a pan and sometimes the fruits can also stick.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk until it just begins to bubble, remove from heat. Mix in the butter, stir until melted and then let the mixture cool until lukewarm.
Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well.
Add the remaining flour, one half, each time and continue beating until mixed.
After the dough has just come together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball, kneading a few times without overworking.
Grease a bowl ( I used the 4 cup measuring cup, the flour was in. Place the dough in the container and allow to rest in a protected space away from drafts. The yeast needs time and warmth to do its thing.
One option of many is to turn the oven on for a few minutes, not even letting the lowest number on the temperature controller to register. Open the door to release, most of the heat, keeping the oven just gently warm and then store the dough in the oven with the door closed. Too hot will kill the yeast, so if you are not feeling sure, leave the door open a bit. You will still be keeping the dough away from drafts but letting the door bang shut is not a good thing.
In a pan add the 2 Tbsp rum and the raisins. Over medium heat, allow the raisins to begin absorbing the rum.
If rum is not your thing, no issue, substitute apple juice or water and a bit of rum flavoured extract. This is just to give the raisins a chance to plump up a little and be nice and moist in the buns.
Peel, core and dice the apples, removing any brown spots, especially if you are using culls. Culls are the apples that drop off apple trees at harvest time and they may have bruises from hitting the ground. They also often have other things going on inside so cut open and remove anything “icky”. None of this should come into question if you are getting your apples from the store but it is harvest time and there is abundance everywhere. Who knows what will show up on your back steps.
Add the diced apples to the raisin mixture along with the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Stir to mix.
How long exactly will depend on the variety of apple you are using. Some varieties will soften more quickly than others and apple sauce is not the goal so keep an eye on what is happening.
Keep your filling warm while working with the dough. The oven that was used for the dough is perfect. Keeping the pan on the heat tends to evaporate more liquid from the filling.
Roll into a rectangle about 9 by 12 inches and top with the apple filling. Spread evenly, leaving and inch free top and bottom. This will allow you to seal the edge once the dough is rolled up.
Starting at the short edge gently roll the dough over the filling and all the way to the other end. With your finger or a pastry brush wipe a little water along the clean edge and roll the dough over it, sealing the dough together. Pinch the edges if needed.
Using a serrated knife, cut into one inch slices. Put the sections in the prepared pan. My extras went in a buttered 8 x 8 inch pan but a 9 x 13 will hold the full recipe. Return to a protected place for a full rise. You can see I placed the end piece in the middle. It has less filling and can be squished around a bit with little consequence.
Bake for 30- 40 minutes or until golden brown on top. The length of time will lessen if the rolls are in two pan.
Remove from the oven. Allow the spring form pan to sit for ten minutes and then release the clip and remove the outer ring.
Place a plate or cooling rack on top of the buns and invert. Gently remove the bottom of the pan and peal off the parchment paper, returning any apples or raisins that want to stay with the paper to the buns.
Turn back to an upright position and continue cooling.
Make the cream cheese glaze by whipping softened cream cheese, butter and vanilla together.
Once combined add the icing sugar, beating until mixed, then add enough milk until a smooth drizzling consistency has been achieved, thin enough to pour and thick enough to reasonably stay in place.
Bare in mind that the heat from the buns will have an effect as well. Warmth will thin the glaze so make it thicker if serving right away and thinner if the drizzle is going on once cooled.
Apple Cinnamon Buns with Rum Soaked Raisins and Cream Cheese Glaze from My Kitchen Wand.