• Letitia Clark

Love Buns





It's Valentine's Day - of course - and I made a bun of love to celebrate.


I love buns of all varieties; they are the perfect love-child of cake and bread - two of life's greatest gifts.


I followed the recipe for Roman Maritozzi which appears in Dolce, particularly fitting as these were used as love tokens between the betrothed, added blood orange zest to the dough and whipped cream and a simple blood orange icing too.


Happy San Valentino to you and those you love xxx


Makes 12 x 80g buns


For the Sponge/Leaven:


10g fresh yeast

1 tbsp honey

150g warm milk

60g flour


For the Final Dough:


400g 0 flour (bread flour)

100g 00 flour (plain flour)

10g salt

70g light olive/seed oil

Zest of 1 blood orange

100g sugar

100g water (room temp)

1 egg and 1 egg yolk


To brush: beaten egg

2 tbsp runny honey


To serve:

300ml of cream

zest of another blood orange

3 tbsp icing sugar


Warm the milk in a small saucepan or microwave and then set it aside until it is just blood temperature (tepid – not too hot to hold a finger in for an extended period of time). Mix the yeast, honey and flour with the warm milk in a small bowl and whisk until you have a smooth mixture.


Cover with clingfilm and set aside and leave for 30 minutes. You should see lots of tiny bubbles forming, which means the yeast is working.


Add the salt to the flours. In a separate bowl mix the sugar, whole egg and egg yolk, oil, orange zest and water. Whisk to mix.


Once the leaven is nice and bubbly add it to the oil and egg mix, then mix the liquids into the flour, bringing everything together, then removing from the bowl and kneading on a lightly oiled surface (you can do this whole process in your kitchen aid if you have one). Knead for a few minutes until you have a smooth dough (the dough is quite sticky, so use a bread scraper if you have one, to help you knead it and then scrape up bits from the surface).


Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, at least 90 minutes. (or overnight in the fridge, see notes on p.)


Scrape the dough out of the bowl and using a knife/dough cutter divide it into 80g pieces, oiling your scales if necessary.


Shape each piece into a neat round (there are good Youtube videos on how to do this) and then place on a lined baking tray, a few inches apart. Cover with an oiled plastic bag, making sure it does not touch the surface of the buns.


Leave them for 90 minutes to prove (they need to be in a warm and non-draughty spot), and double in size. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 190.


Remove the bag from the buns and brush them evenly but gently all over with the beaten egg.


Place them in the oven and cook until they are golden brown and risen, about 12-15 minutes.


Brush them with the honey whilst still warm. Whip your cream to soft peaks and fold through the icing sugar.


Allow the buns to cool slightly before cutting a deep slit down the middle, and filling abundantly with whipped cream.


Ice them with a simple glaze made of icing sugar and a tsp or two of blood orange juice.


Eat, with even more abundant coffee and napkins.