Last night we made the epic journey right across the city to Blackheath to partake in one of my favourite evenings of the year: Bonfire Night. I spent most of my childhood terrified of fireworks; each November 5th would find me cowering, hands over my ears, frozen by the horrid loud noises. I see my yearly pilgrimages south of the river as making up for all that lost time.
As I 'ohhhhed' and 'ahhhhhhed' through the display, the young boy behind me didn't quite share my enthusiasm. He provided some very entertaining commentary: 'Daddy, when are they going to do the big ones?....Disney ones were better.... Daddddyyy, these are rubbish!'
His somewhat exasperated Father persuaded him to stay put with promises of candy floss and toffee apples. But as the fireworks reached their magnificent crescendo, this clearly wasn't an attractive enough bribe: 'Daddddddyyy! I've had enough! I want to go home! I prefer Halloween!'.
If it was socially acceptable to berate small boys whom you've not met before then I would have told him that the magic and wonder of fireworks and bonfires is infinity better than the ridiculous, over-commercialized, scare-fest that is Halloween.
(The only slight advantage of Halloween is that you may get a few more miniature sized chocolates, if you're aged around seven, dressed up as a ghoul and carrying a treat bucket).
For those of us who do prefer Bonfire Night, here's a lovely treat of a bun perfect to munch on while admiring the illuminated skies.
Bonfire Night: Sticky Toffee Apple Buns
For the dough:
450g strong white bread flour
7g fast action yeast
50g light brown soft sugar
150ml warm full fat milk
1 beaten egg
50g unsalted melted butter
For the filling:
30g melted butter
1 tbsp mixed spice
30g soft brown sugar
2 small eating apples, cored and roughly chopped
1 egg white
For the topping:
Dash of milk
1. Put the flour, yeast, sugar with 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl and mix well. Pour in the milk with 50ml warm water, the egg and butter and mix to form a dough, initially with a wooden spoon then with your hands.
2. Turn out the dough onto a worksurface, resisting the temptation to add more flour- this is a wet, sticky dough! Knead the dough until smooth and springy. Place in a lightly greased large bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise until doubled in size in a warm place
3. Grease a 23cm round baking tin. Knock back the dough and turn out onto the work surface. Roll out into a large rectangle and brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle over the spice, sultanas and apple.
4. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas Mark 6. Tightly roll up the dough, longest side first. Cut into 8-10 pinwheels and tightly place, cut side up, in the prepared tin. Set aside to prove in a warm place until double in size. Brush with the egg white just prior to placing in the oven.5. Bake for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4 to bake for a further ten minutes or until golden brown.
6. To make the toffee topping: melt the toffees with a dash of milk in a small pan over a gentle heat, stirring regularly. Once melted, drizzle over the buns
- In last month's Waitrose Magazine, they had a lovely recipe for Autumn Chelsea Buns, made with ginger syrup and dates.
- Without doubt these are best served warm, fresh from the oven
- For other Bonfire inspired sweet treats, visit the recipe index