Orange and cinnamon buns


I love hot cross buns, but while their wintery spices and warming wholesomeness are perfect for the autumnal southern hemisphere conditions, it doesn’t quite gel where the weather is getting progressively hotter. Plus, hot cross buns are available in Hanoi, but not in the quality or quantity of Sydney, so I would have to make my own (which I eventually did, with the help of a friend, they were delicious and PMum even commented excitedly that “they look real!”). Instead a recipe for jammy mandarin and cinnamon buns caught my eye, still kind of hot cross bun-like in a cinnamon spiked yeasty manner, but brightened with a tart homemade jam, oh yes.


Cooking is all about balance, I know this oft repeated mantra sounds played out, but it is widely stated for a reason. I left these rolls in the oven to develop the caramel and brown the tops, which unfortunately made the insides dry. The divinely caramelised edges and citrus swirls outweighed the dry and unappetising dough, but only for so long. After the first day I had no desire to eat them, but in a flurry of frugalness I turned them in to a pudding. Oh yes. Slice the rolls thickly and arrange in an oven-proof dish. Whisk together a few eggs, some sugar, and any remaining glaze. When well combined add some cream and/or milk and stir well. You need enough liquid to just about cover the rolls. Bake at 160C until the custard has set. I found that the dry rolls were more than willing to soak up the liquid and form a comforting old fashioned dessert of the kind one sometimes craves, of the kind that is still around now for a reason. Because it is delicious.


If you feel the need for something yeasty and comforting this easter long weekend that isn’t dotted with dried fruit and heavy with mixed spice then give these sweet, tart, citrus spiked rolls a burl. Don’t worry if you overcook them like I did, just make the pudding described above, which I think I enjoyed even more than the original.


Orange and cinnamon buns
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller’s Jammy mandarin and cinnamon buns.
I was totally seduced by this recipe and set out to make it before I remembered that I was in the Northern Hemisphere now, and mandarins probably wouldn’t be in season. I was right, not one to be found the day I made this, but my heart was already set. So I replaced the mandarins in this recipe with the equivalent amount of orange juice. The jam was a touch runnier, and yielded less, but it was still delicious.

For Rolls:
100 ml lukewarm milk, plus extra for brushing
1/4 cup raw caster sugar, plus extra for dusting pan
1×7 gm sachet dry yeast
3 eggs, at room temperature
450 gm (3 cups) plain flour
50 gm very soft butter
For dusting: demerara sugar

For Mandarin (or orange) jam:
8 mandarins (or replace with orange juice)
2 each oranges and lemons
220 gm (1 cup) white sugar
60 ml (¼ cup) orange liqueur (I used campari, it was all I could find in a small bottle. While I like cointreau, I couldn’t really justify buying (and subsequently drinking) a whole 700ml bottle when I only needed 60ml for this recipe, but it would have only cost $18!)

For: Cinnamon glaze
150 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
30 ml orange juice
10 gm butter
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Make the jam: Peel and segment four mandarins. Remove seeds and set them aside. The seeds in the will be added later to release their pectin and help set the jam. Juice the remaining four mandarins into a measuring jug and set aside. Peel and segment oranges and lemons over a bowl to catch juices, then squeeze any remaining juice from pulp, again reserving those precious seeds. Combine all juices to yield 1 cup and pour into a heavy-based saucepan with sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Tie seeds in a small piece of muslin. Add seeds and segments to the pan and simmer until syrupy (about 30 minutes). The jam doesn’t need to have set all the way, but it shouldn’t be watery. Remove seeds, stir in liqueur and cool to room temperature.

Make the Dough:Combine milk, sugar and yeast in a bowl, stir together until yeast dissolves. Add the eggs and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and mix until thoroughly combined. Add flour, stir in and then mix the softened butter through until incorporated. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. I added a lot more flour at this stage because the dough was quite wet, please don’t! Add a minimum amount of flour to stop the dough from sticking. It should take about 8 minutes of heavy kneading to make the dough the correct consistency. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until it has double in size, about an hour.
Preheat oven to 180C
Turn dough out onto a floured surface, knock back and roll into a large rectangle about 20cm x 60cm. Ensure the longest side is facing you, then spread with 1/3 to 1/2 of the jam, leaving a 3cm border along the longer side. Roll into a long cylinder and cut into 12 even pieces. Arrange rolls in a buttered and sugared cake pan (the original recipe says 20x30cm pan, but I used 1x regular loaf pan and a 23cm round tin). Cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 mins. Brush with milk, dust with sugar and bake until golden, about 30 mins. Turn out immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Make the glaze: Combine all ingredients in a small pan and stir over medium heat. Stir until smooth, then drizzle over cooked rolls. Check out the recipe on the Gourmet traveller website. I have no idea how their glaze is white, how could it be?

Serve with butter and extra jam.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Posted March 30, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    I think orange would be better than mandarin anyway. I find mandarins too sweet. Great recipe, these look too cute.
    .-= Mark @ Cafe Campana´s last blog ..BBQ Favourites – Kartoffelsalat =-.

  2. Posted March 30, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    You make baking these rols look so effortless! I’m one of those “afraid of yeast” types, which should be silly but I think they need to come up with a actual phobia name for it.

    Seeing these fresh, warm buns though, makes me wanna just take the plunge and bake them!!
    .-= Sweets By Vicky´s last blog ..Digestives =-.

  3. Posted March 31, 2010 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Oh, this looks amazing. I love the combination of orange and cinnamon. YUM!

  4. Posted March 31, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Your photos are so gorgeous!

    These sound really, really good. I’m sorry to hear that they dried out, but I’m glad you found a way to salvage them!
    .-= Kaitlin´s last blog ..Failure =-.

  5. Posted March 31, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    that looks awesome. and plus home made jam will be heavenly

  6. Juria
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    STU-nning!!!! I helped devour both the rolls AND the pudding made with them. They made me VERY happy inside!

  7. Posted April 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    These buns look real nice. Pity about overcooking them but then it lent itself to what seems to be a great dessert.

    I guess the classics are classics for a reasons :)

  8. Posted April 4, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Adorable. I love the orange alternative. But I do have some mandarins in my fruit bowl right now. Hmmmmmm, very tempting to get back into the kitchen now! :)
    .-= Julia @ Mélanger´s last blog ..{ Hot cross … braid } =-.

  9. Posted April 8, 2010 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Funnily enough I had my first hot cross bun in 12 years in Hanoi and then another three days later — the first at Hanoi Cooking Centre which was top drawer and served with some mulberry jam, the second at KOTO which was bottom drawer….
    .-= Teddy´s last blog ..The corpse bride =-.

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