French Raisin Buns
These rolls must be started a day in advance but well worth the extra planning.
1/4 cup dark rum
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. active dry yeast
4 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 3/4 tsp. salt
5-6 egg, as needed
1 1/4 cups butter, cool
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean , split and seeded
1/2 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten for glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Place the raisins into a jar with the rum, seal and let soak overnight.
Place the warm water in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let stand until bloomed. Transfer yeast mixture to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the flour, sugar and salt; mix until combined.
Add 3 of the eggs. Mix on low until blended; add another egg. Raise the speed and mix until nearly blended. Add another egg and mix. The dough should be smooth and elastic; not too dry or too soggy but should stick to the sides and bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too dry, add the remaining egg. Knead for about 10 minutes until dough is very smooth. Cover the dough and let rise until doubled.
Return the bowl to the mixer. Add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until absorbed. Don’t over mix. You do not want the dough to become warm. Transfer the dough to a bowl ; cover and refrigerate overnight.
Combine the milk , vanilla beans and scraped seeds in a saucepan. Bring the milk mixture to a boil. Remove from heat; cover for 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Whisk in the flour and cornstarch. Place the milk back on the heat and bring to a simmer. Temper the egg mixture with the hot milk, adding about half, whisking in until combined. Pour the egg mixture back int the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture and whisk to combine. Continue whisking mixture until it begins to boil; whisk constantly 2 minutes . Remove from heat. Place pastry cream in a bowl. Cover the top of the pastry cream with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Strain the raisins from the rum; reserving the rum. Drain well.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of sugar; set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out to a 14×14 inch square. Spread the cooled pastry cream evenly over the top of the dough, leaving a small clean edge of dough at one end. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the pastry cream. Sprinkle the drained raisins evenly over the pastry cream. Gently press the raisins into the pastry cream. Start rolling the dough up like a sausage ending with the clean edge of dough; seal together. Cut the dough into 12 pieces. Place evenly on the baking sheet. Press each roll down slightly. Brush the tops with beaten egg. Reserve extra beaten egg. Place the uncovered sheet pan to rise for 1 hour. Brush the tops with remaining egg. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven; leave oven on. Slide the parchment with the buns onto a wire rack. Allow to cool. Mix together the reserved rum and the powdered sugar. Brush tops of buns with the rum mixture and place cooled buns back in the oven for 2 minutes. Remove and cool. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.