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Walnut and Cherry Buns

Serve these delectable little yeast buns, flavoured with orange, sour cream, walnuts and cherries slightly warm, with tea or coffee.

24 BUNS

4 oz. plus

2 tablespoons butter

2 oz. fresh yeast

3 oz. plus

2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons lukewarm milk

1 lb. flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 egg yolks

5 fl. oz. sour cream

½ teaspoon vanilla essence finely grated rind of 2 large oranges 12 walnuts, shelled and halved 12 glace cherries, halved 1 egg yolk, well beaten with 1 tablespoons milk

Using the 2 tablespoons of butter, grease two 12-cup patty tins and set them aside. Crumble the yeast into a small mixing bowl and mash in the ½ teaspoon of sugar with a kitchen fork. Add the milk and cream the milk and yeast together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.

Sift the flour and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the remaining butter and cut it into small pieces with a table knife. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the remaining sugar. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, sour cream, vanilla essence and orange rind together with a fork. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast and sour cream and egg yolk mixtures.

Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquid. Continue mixing until all the flour has been incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or marble slab and knead it for 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be smooth and clastic.

Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and, with your hands, roll them into small balls. Place one dough ball in each cup of the patty tins. Cover the tins with two large clean cloths and set them aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until the dough balls have doubled in bulk.

With your index finger, make a depres-sion in the centre of each ball. Place a walnut half in each depression, then a cherry half. With a pastry brush, brush the dough balls with a little of the egg yolk and milk mixture. Set the dough balls aside in a warm, draught-free place for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375 F (Gas Mark 5, 190’C).

Place the patty tins in the centre of the oven and bake the buns for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are cooked and golden brown on top.

Remove the patty tins from the oven and transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool to lukewarm before serving.

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