These are a throwback to my school days, where we would stop by Percy Ingle or Greggs on the way home and grab something sweet – an iced bun, an apple slice or mini doughnuts (I’m a sucker for anything glazed). The great thing about these buns is that the apples stay crunchy on top, contrasting with the soft texture of the bun. And, of course, they’re finished with a drizzle of lemon icing, to give them that old-school vibe.
Iced apple buns
Here, I’ve paired a really simple bun dough with spiced brown sugar butter and apples.
Prep 1 hr 15 min
Prove 2 hr+
Cook 18 min
50ml whole milk
3g fast-action dried yeast
225g strong white flour
3g fine salt
25g unsalted butter, softened
Oil, for greasing
1 beaten egg, for brushing
For the apples
80g unsalted butter, softened
40g dark brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
180g braeburn apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm cubes
For the icing
70g icing sugar mixed with the juice of ½ lemon
Warm the milk and water very gently and slowly, so it’s warm to the touch. Sprinkle in the yeast, stir and set aside.
Mix the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Pour the wet mix over the dry, and mix on a medium speed with a dough hook for 10 minutes. Turn off the machine and cover with a tea towel for five minutes.
Add the butter and mix on slow-medium speed until incorporated. Turn the machine up to medium and mix and develop to give the dough strength – it should be smooth, silky and elastic.
Scoop out the dough on to a work surface and shape into a smooth ball. Pop into a large, lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to double in size for one and a half to two hours.
Meanwhile, in a second large bowl, mix the butter, dark brown sugar and cinnamon until soft and well combined, then stir through the chopped apple.
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/gas 6. When the dough has doubled in size, press it down and divide into 65g portions. Roll into balls and put on baking trays, spacing them well apart, so they won’t touch each other when growing and baking (so, about three per small tray).
Lightly oil the tops and cover with a tea towel. After about 25 minutes, when the dough balls are puffy and light, push down the middles, spoon 30-40g of the apple mixture into each bun and press down gently. Gently brush the exposed dough on each bun with beaten egg.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden. The apples should absorb the butter mixture and remain slightly firm, but if any fall off during baking, spoon them back on. Leave to cool slightly, then drizzle over the lemon icing. These are best eaten on the day they are made.