These buns are best filled just before serving and eaten the day they're made. You can add raisins and pine nuts to the dough, or leave them plain. I prefer the cream unsweetened but a few tablespoons of icing sugar can be sifted in before whipping.
500g tipo 00 flour (or 200g tipo 00 flour plus 300g plain flour), plus extra for dusting
100g caster sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
7g dry active yeast
200ml full-cream milk
finely grated zest of an orange
100g unsalted butter, softened
50g raisins, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, drained and patted dry (optional)
50g pine nuts (optional)
1 egg, for egg wash
50g caster sugar
cream, to serve
icing sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Place the flour/s, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on a low speed to combine.
2. Warm the milk and water in a small pan over a low heat until it is lukewarm, about 37C when tested with a thermometer. With the mixer on a medium speed, pour the milk and water into the dry ingredients, along with the two eggs and orange zest. Increase the speed to high and mix until the dough is elastic and not sticking to the sides of the bowl, about 6-7 minutes.
3. Reduce the speed to medium-high and add the butter, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it is all incorporated. This should take about 5 minutes. Increase the speed to high again and mix for 3-4 minutes or until the dough is shiny and elastic. If using, add the raisins and pine nuts and briefly mix to combine.
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm space until doubled in size (about 1-1 ½ hours).
5. Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced (190C conventional). Line two trays with baking paper.
6. Knock down the dough then turn onto a floured workbench. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, about 80g each, and roll into balls by tucking the edges into the centre then turning over. The dough will still be sticky so use a little flour when needed. Use your hands to shape them into 9-10cm long ovals, almost lemon shaped. Place on the prepared trays with enough room to allow for spreading. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rest for a further 30-45 minutes or until puffy.
7. Whisk an egg with 1 teaspoon of water and brush onto the buns.
8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden all over and cooked through. Remove from the oven.
9. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and water in a small pan and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Brush over the buns while still hot.
10. When cool, split the buns down the middle without breaking them in two and using a spatula, fill generously with whipped cream. Dust with icing sugar, if desired.