Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s Chocolate and Sour Cherry Brioche Buns
These buns are decadent - buttery brioche filled with dark chocolate, sour cherries and walnuts. They are rather simple to make, especially if you have an electric mixer. I have made them by hand on some occasions and it wasn't too difficult, just a bit of a workout! You can omit the cherries if you can't find them, and feel free to replace the walnuts with almonds, pistachios or even hazelnuts. The overnight proofing helps to make this soft and buttery dough workable. Similarly, don't try to make these on a hot day, as the dough will be far too soft to handle in the heat. These buns are best eaten on the day of baking, but they can be toasted and eaten the following day.
Makes 8 large buns
350 g (2 ⅓ cups) plain flour sifted, plus extra for dusting
7 g active dry yeast
70 g caster sugar
100 ml full-cream milk plus 1 tablespoon extra for brushing
finely grated zest of 1 orange
150 g unsalted butter, softened
Chocolate and Sour Cherry Filling
50 g (½ cup) toasted walnuts
100 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa) finely chopped
1 ¾ tablespoons caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 orange
40 g (⅓ cup) dried sour cherries, roughly chopped
Place the flour, yeast and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Gently warm the milk in a saucepan over a low heat until tepid, about 30°C. Turn the mixer on to medium speed and pour the milk into the dry ingredients, along with three of the eggs and the orange zest. Mix for 3-4 minutes until combined into a sticky yet elastic dough. With the motor still running, add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, ensuring it is incorporated before adding more. Once all the butter has been added, mix for another 2-3 minutes until the dough is elastic. Transfer to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with butter and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Knock back the dough, cover again and place in the fridge to prove for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, lightly toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan over a low-medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until just coloured. Allow to cool, then chop them finely and combine with the remaining ingredients. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured bench and, using your hands or a rolling pin, push or roll the dough out to a rectangle about 40 cm × 20 cm, flouring the dough as you need. Scatter the filling evenly over the rectangle of dough, then fold the short edges in so they meet in the middle, so it looks like an open book. Then fold the dough in half along where the edges meet (like closing a book). You will now have a long, flat shape. You can cut the buns like this, or roll gently, from the longer edge, into a log shape. Trim the rough ends, then cut the log into eight pieces about 6 cm wide. Arrange on the prepared tray with 4 cm of space between each bun to allow them to expand. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes for a final proof. Lightly whisk the remaining egg with the extra tablespoon of milk and brush over the top of the buns.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden and risen. Allow to cool slightly on the tray before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve warm, or at room temperature on the day of baking.