Before I have a summer break, lying in the sun for 3 weeks, Kindle in hand, the warm Mediterranean close-by, I have decided to re-post one of my first recipes. It has been in my family for generations. It was used by my mother and grandmother before me. Saffron has become almost prohibitively expensive - especially Valencian. So I trawled the net some time ago and found a supplier [see below], whose prices are more gentle on the pocket. It is Spanish, although not Valencian, but I can hardly tell the difference. I always batch bake 3 x the basic recipe, making approx 54 buns. Freezing the majority in bags of 6 or so. Perfect. So handy. Here is the basic recipe using 1lb flour, making 16-18 buns.
I will be back during the 2nd week of July, With Lan’cen Pie!
1 lb Strong Plain Flour
pinch of salt
4 oz fat - half each, lard and butter
4 oz castor sugar
Currants to taste - please do not be stingy! Hunt the currant is no fun.
1 oz fresh yeast - or these days, I use Allinson's Easy Bake, fast action yeast.
[1 oz will be 1 sachet, or from a tub, 2 teasp, using a proper measure]
Two boxes, inc postage costs about £5. The above amount of 2 grams is just right for 3lb flour, but if you want it stronger, use more, by all means. Lubina Foods. Or by phone, Fox’s Spices. These little boxes have “best before” dates of around 3 years.
Place your desired amount of saffron in a barely warm oven to dry for 20 mins. I loosely wrap it in baking parchment. Lightly crush and tip into 9 fl oz of boiling water. Cool to tepid, then add a teaspoon of sugar and your yeast. Allow to start working and frothy.
Meanwhile rub the fat into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add a pinch of salt too and then your sugar and fruit. Make a well and tip in your yeasty, divinely smelling liquid. Using your hands [clean of course!!!] bring the flour into the centre and mix well. This will be pretty wet, but don't panic. When incorporated tip onto a floured surface and gently kneed for a few minutes, [I never use a machine for this, it will crush the currants] then place back into your mixing bowl and cover with lightly oiled cling film and allow to rise. I cannot give you an exact timing as it will depend on the air temperature and where you put it. But wait until it's double in size. Go and do something else! Tip it back onto the floured surface and lightly kneed again for a minute or so. Get some scales with a plate on it. Prepare your baking sheet. Now you need to decide how large your buns need to be? The above were weighed out at 2 1/4 ounces. Of course, you do not have to weigh the dough out, but its nice to have them all the same size! Carefully shape them, always turning the dough inwards on the bottom. Place on the baking sheet, in rows and allow to rise once more for 30 mins or so. Pre heat your fan oven to 180 and bake them for about 20 mins. Cool on a wire rack. Freeze as soon as they are cold, then to use, microwave for a few seconds and they will come out as if they were just freshly cooked.
Do you butter yours? Some do. I don't! This recipe is not suitable for Saffron Cake.
Cake uses less yeast and a higher proportion of fat, making it denser, keeping longer. My Saffron Cake recipe was posted towards the end of November 2013 and is still on my Blog, www.recipesfromacornishkitchen.blogspot.co.uk and Community FB page.