Sweet saffron fruit buns

Later this week I’m heading back to Cornwall for a little holiday, and to get me back into the mood I thought I’d make some saffron buns. Saffron used to be grown in Cornwall, but as far as I can tell almost all of it in the shops today comes from Spain, Turkey or Iran, so perhaps these buns aren’t as Cornish as they once were, but I still associate the bright yellow hue saffron gives to bread with Cornish bakeries.

I wasn’t really working to a recipe this time. I steeped some saffron in some boiling milk for a couple of hours, then mixed up a slightly-sweet and enriched white dough using the saffron milk, adding some raisins and mixed peel towards the end of the kneading. I shaped the dough into 100g buns, brushed some milk over the top and sprinkled with some pearl sugar. They had about 15 minutes in the oven.

Unfortunately, my saffron was showing its age, and despite using quite a few strands, the bread is only slightly yellow and the saffron taste is barely noticeable. As with almost everything I bake, they’ve gone very dark on top, and interestingly the pearl sugar melted, which I’ve never had happen before. Next time I’ll remember in advance to soak the dried fruit in water/juice as well.

They’re very nice toasted with some butter (what isn’t?), but there’s certainly room for improvement with these.

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