Hello fall, hello Halloween. These buns are definitely a treat!
I don’t know what’s the best bit about these buns, making or eating them. The whole process is such fun, on your own or with a few enthusiastic little bakers perhaps.
For this recipe we use pumpkin puree. In Holland we do not really have the easy option of canned pumpkin puree, but pumpkins can be bought in most shops or maybe you can even harvest your own pumpkin crop. The puree is easily made, and homemade will still be best.
We cook the pieces of the famous orange pumpkin with the thick skin still on, in water with bit of salt, like you would potatoes. We cook them until soft, drain them, leave them in the pan without the lid to cool and blend them into a smooth puree with our stick blender.
Adding the pumpkin puree to the recipe also adds the small challenge of how much extra water to add to get the right dough consistency. The pumpkin contains water of its own and you need to take this into account. The amount of water given in this recipe is a good starting point. We suggest to add some of it and see how the dough comes together, then add more if needed. You may need a few runs to get it right, but with this recipe I do not consider this a punishment.
We love the taste of aniseed in the dough, but the pumpkin spice option would be the classic choice of course. Just decide for yourself which spices to add. The salted maple butter is the easiest thing in the world to make and it’s a perfect match with the buns.
Happy Halloween baking!
Ingredients for the pumpkin buns
makes 12 buns
500 g bread flour
10 g instant yeast or 30 g fresh yeast
8 g salt
70 g lukewarm water
200 g pumpkin puree (room temperature)
1 egg (medium)
50 g honey
50 g butter, softened
1 tsp ground aniseed or pumpkin spice*
water and raw cane sugar to coat the buns (or coat with egg wash)
12 pecan pieces to be used as stalks on your pumpkins after baking
Tip: If you do not have any pumpkin puree or time to cook your own, but still want to make the buns, make the recipe without it but with the addition of extra water or milk. Without the puree the total amount of water for this recipe is about 225 g.
Tip*: To make your own pumpkin spice for all sorts of seasonal recipes mix together the ground version of these spices: 4 tsps of cinnamon, 2 tsps of ginger, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cloves and 1 tsp allspice (piment). Use one teaspoon of this mixture in the above recipe or try the aniseed version.
Ingredients for the salted maple butter
100 g salted butter (we use 0.6% salted)
35 g maple syrup
Making the salted maple butter
Add the maple syrup to softened butter and beat or stir into a smooth consistency. Mold the butter into a sausage shape, tightly wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge to firm up.
Tip: For a sweeter treat make sweet maple frosting / buttercream by mixing 70 g of soft butter with 40 g of maple syrup and beat. Add 225 g of icing sugar and beat until fluffy. Serve with the buns.
Making the pumpkin buns
- First make sure the ingredients are at warm room temperature, including the pumpkin puree. The added water can be lukewarm (35°C / 95°F). Put all the ingredients in the mixing bowl of your standing mixer, except for the water and the softened butter. Now add 3/4 of the water and see how the dough comes together. Judge how wet the dough is and if it needs all of the water or maybe even a bit more. Keep in mind you will also be adding the butter at the second stage of kneading. First knead the dough for 5 minutes. Now add the softened butter in 3 stages and knead for 3 more minutes. You should aim for a slightly sticky and silky smooth dough. When you touch it with your finger it should stick to the dough for just a second, like it would to a post-it note. Kneading the dough by hand should take around 15 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball, put it in a greased bowl, cover and leave to rest for 60 minutes in a warm place (around 24°C / 75°F is perfect).
- Take the dough out of the bowl. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (slightly under 80 grams each) and shape them into balls. Cover with floured clingfilm and leave to rest on your bench for 15 minutes.
- With a knife or dough cutter make eight cuts, but leave the center uncut, dividing the bun into eight segments. Make a hole in the center with your index finger, all the way down to the bottom, so it will not disappear during proofing and baking.
- Place the buns on a baking tray. Brush each bun with water and sprinkle with the cane sugar*.
- Cover and leave to proof for at least 90 minutes in a warm place. Check if the buns are ready for the oven. If not give them an extra 15 minutes and check again. It takes as long as it takes, just make sure they are truly ready for the oven, do not rush it.
- Bake at 180°C / 355°F for around 15 minutes until beautiful orange-golden. If you think the buns have the right color, you can temper your oven to 150°C / 300°F after 8 to 10 minutes, so they will not get too dark.
- Take the buns out of the oven, let them cool slightly before adding the pecan segments. Serve with slices salted maple butter.
Tip*: You can add 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice to 30 grams of raw can sugar and use this to coat the buns.