masala chai fig buns (from Julia Turshen's Small Victories, Chronicle Books , 2016)
makes : 12 buns
3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 large eggs
3 1/4 cups (390g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (200g) fig jam
1/4 cup boiling water
2 darjeeling tea bags
1/4 cup (30g) powdered sugar
1/2 cup (115g) crème fraîche
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until it reaches body temperature. Transfer the milk to a large bowl and stir in the yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes, until it turns frothy.
2. Crack one of the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork. Add the beaten egg to the milk-yeast mixture, along with flour, granulated sugar, salt and butter. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a large ball and knead it gently by pressing it with the heel of your hand and pushing it away from you, then immediately pulling it back, folding the top of the dough back on itself. Turn the dough clockwise a little bit each time you push and pull it so it gets evenly worked, knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough gets soft yet solid. Put the dough back in the large bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it sit in a warm spot until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour.
4. While the dough is resting, pour the boiling water over the tea bags in a small bowl and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Squeeze the tea bags and collect the reserve liquid. You should have about 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid left behind, mix this into the jam and keep aside until ready to use.
4. Return the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it out using a rolling pin into a large ovalish rectangle measuring roughly 18inX12in. Spread the tea infused jam over the surface of the dough in an even layer using an offset spatula leaving a 1/2 inch border. Start to roll the dough up tightly so you end up with an 18 inch rope. Cut the rope into 12 parts of equal thickness.
5. Line a baking sheet or 9 inch tart/pie pan with parchment paper. Arrange the buns spiral-jam-sided up on the baking sheet snugly next to each other. Cover the buns loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Then transfer to the refrigerator and let them rest overnight. The next day before baking, let the buns rest at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.
6. Preheat the oven to 350F. Crack the remaining egg into a small bowl and whisk with 1 tablespoon of water. Uncover the buns and brush them with the egg mixture. Bake in the preheated oven until browned and the exposed jam is caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.
7. While the buns are baking, prepare the crème fraîche frosting. Mix the sugar, crème fraîche, cardamom, pepper and ginger with a spoon. Remove the buns from the oven and drizzle the crème fraîche over the buns. Serve the warm buns immediately.