Chai Cinnamon Buns
These buns are truly heavenly, especially when it is snowing outside! They are time consuming, but worth the effort on special occasions or at the weekends when you have extra time.
With this recipe, I have merged two great taste experiences together, Canadian Cinnamon Buns and Indian Chai to form the perfect Chai Cinnamon Bun.
After graduating from Art College, I traveled around India and Nepal with my friend Mary for 3 months. We saw wonderful things, from the snow peaked Himalaya, farmers washing their buffalo’s in the Ganges River to the glistening walls of the Taj Mahal, all along the trip drinking many cups of Chai. See more here and here
Authentic Indian Chai is made using a wonderful blend of warming spices and sweet honey steeped in milk then boiled. In India it’s served in tiny cups sometimes made of clay that can be bought from street sellers for 5 rupees (penny’s!). After gulping down the tea, it’s customary to smash the little clay cups on the ground and walk on.
I never smashed my cups! And subsequently at the end of my trip I had quite a few cups in my bulging backpack.
The soft fluffy texture of this bun recipe really lends itself to the warming aroma of the chai, have a go!
600-660g plain flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
260 ml whole milk
75 grams butter, unsalted
60 grams white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
4 teabags of authentic chai
150 grams dark brown sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
100 grams butter, unsalted
extra butter for greasing the tin and sealing the buns
50g icing sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
20ml chai infused whole milk
Start by heating up the milk in a pan and add the chai teabags, let them infuse over low heat for 10 min then take the pan off the heat and steep the tea bags for a further 30 min.
Next make the dough. Melt the butter in a pan, then leave to cool for 5 min. Mix 600g of flour, sugar and yeast together in a big bowl, and pour 240 ml of the chai milk into the flour mix. Set the remaining 20 ml of milk to one side ready for the icing.
Pour in the melted butter and stir. Mix in the eggs, one egg at a time, stirring in-between. Beat the mixture well for 3-5 min.You want a soft dough, not sticky, but definitely not dry. If the dough at this point needs more flour, add the remaining 60g. Tip the dough out on a floured surface and kneed for 5-7 min more. Once the dough is lovely and soft, pop it in a greased bowl and cover with a damp dish cloth. Leave to rise for 1½ -2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a bowl stir together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and cloves. Cut in the cold butter with a knife until the mixture is evenly combined.
Now tip out your dough and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to roughly 30cm x 30cm. Then spread the filling on top of the dough square leaving a 1cm gap round the edges.
Now roll the dough together to form a long sausage shape. Then cut the roll into 8 equal pieces using a bread knife. Place the cut buns close together in a greased backing tin that roughly measures 30×25 cm.
Cover the buns with a dish cloth, leave to rise for 1 hour. Or refrigerate over night, and bake in the morning.
In a preheated oven set at 190 °c / fan 180°c, bake the buns for 25-30 min, until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for 5 min. Meanwhile make the icing, by mixing the icing sugar with the leftover chai milk and melted butter.
Pour over the still warm buns, and serve immediately.