Plain Iced Buns (or School Buns) are certainly not unique to Yorkshire, but they are, and have been for a long time, a firm favourite in the region. Throughout the 1950s these were eagerly awaited treats in schools (hence the alternative title), given out on special days in the school year calendar. You can still find them in cake shops and cafes across the region, sometimes round, with a cherry on top, but more likely in the thick finger form shown in the photo here. You can split them in half and fill them with jam and cream, too. But the plain form is de-licious on its own, so why bother! Here’s a recipe by ‘Baker Mike’, who writes a regular food and cooking recipe for the ‘Keighley News’.
- 500 g/1 lb 2 oz strong bread flour
- Half a teaspoon of salt
- 50 g/2 oz caster sugar
- 50g/2 oz unsalted butter, cold
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 20 g/ half an ounce fresh yeast or two sachets dried yeast
- 200 ml/7 fl oz warm milk
- 300 g/10 oz icing sugar, sift
- 5 tablespoons cold water
- Line two large baking trays with parchment paper
- To make the dough, add the flour, salt and sugar to a large mixing bowl
- Rub in the cold butter with your fingertips to form breadcrumbs
- Dissolve the fresh yeast into the warm milk, add the beaten eggs and make a soft, sticky and pliable dough
- Lightly flour a worktop, then knead the dough well for 10 minutes until it becomes smooth, springy and elasticated
- Return the dough back to the mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel allowing it to prove for an hour
- Once risen well, divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls, then into fingers 12 cm/4 inch long
- Place your finger-shaped buns onto the baking trays allowing room for spreading
- Leave somewhere warm to rise again for around 40 minutes until double in size
- Preheat the oven to 200 c/Gas Mark 7 and bake your finger buns for around 10 minutes or until golden in colour
- Leave to cool fully on a wire rack, then make the icing.
- To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add the cold water to make a thick, smooth spreadable paste
- Dip each finger bun into the icing and smooth off any excess.
Source: See Baker Mike’s column in the Keighley News: Friend in Knead