While researching seaside cottages for our holiday in the UK this summer, I regularly came across tantalising mentions of Cornish and Devonshire splits. I've made countless scones, of course, but these sweetened yeast buns, split and filled with compote and clotted cream, make a delightful, pillowy alternative: you just need a couple of extra hours up your sleeve to let the dough rise. By all means, use any bright jam in place of this recipe's rhubarb compote.
For the buns
500g plain flour
50g castor sugar
1 tsp salt
2¼ tsp instant dried yeast
200ml lukewarm milk
60g butter, melted, then cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs, plus 1 extra, lightly beaten, for eggwash
350ml pure cream, lightly whipped to soft peaks
For the rhubarb compote
500g rhubarb, chopped into 3-4cm lengths
100g castor sugar
peel and juice of 1 orange
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1 large sprig rosemary
1. Sift the flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a cake mixer, then stir in the yeast. Add the milk, butter and eggs, then attach the dough hook and mix on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium and continue kneading the dough for 2-3 minutes, then stop the mixer, drape a tea towel over the bowl and leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
2. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the rested dough onto a lightly floured kitchen bench – it will feel very heavy and sticky initially – and continue to knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Put the dough into a lightly floured bowl, cover with cling film and rest in a warm place for 1-1½ hours or until doubled in size.
3. Meanwhile, make the rhubarb compote. Combine all the compote ingredients in a medium saucepan. Rest on the counter for 30 minutes, then place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cover with the lid and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender. If it has released a lot of liquid, remove the lid and turn the heat up to high for a minute or two to enable some of the liquid to evaporate. Remove from heat and transfer into a bowl to cool down. Discard the rosemary and orange peel.
4. Line a large high-sided roasting tin with baking paper. When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto the bench and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece under a cupped hand to form a smooth ball, then place onto the tin, spaced a few centimetres apart. Cover the tin with cling film and leave in a warm place for about an hour or until they have doubled in size.
5. Preheat the oven to 175C fan-forced (195C conventional). Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash, then bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing them on an angle for filling, taking care not to cut them all the way through. Gently open up the buns along the cut and spoon in rhubarb compote, followed by a large dollop of whipped cream. If you have a piping bag and star-shaped nozzle handy, pipe the cream into the split for an even more attractive finish.