Whether it's the combination of warm spiced apple encased in buttery, crisp pastry layers or the fact they're the ultimate comfort food, there is no denying that apple turnovers are one of the simplest pastries to make (especially if you use purchased puff pastry like this recipe does).
4 sheets (24 x 24cm each) frozen ready-rolled butter puff pastry (see Baker's Tips)
1 egg yolk whisked with 2 teaspoons water
icing sugar, to dust
whipped or thick cream (optional), to serve
2 large (about 200g each) apples (such as granny smith or golden delicious), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
85g (⅓ cup) raisins
50g (¼ cup) raw sugar
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a two oven trays with non-stick baking paper.
Lay the pastry on the bench and allow it to thaw while making the Filling.
To make the filling, put all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix to combine evenly.
Use a small sharp knife and a 14 cm saucer as a guide to cut eight rounds from the pastry.
Brush the edges of the pastry rounds with a little of the egg wash. Divide the Filling mixture among the pastry rounds, placing it on one half and leaving a 1cm border. Fold the uncovered pastry of each round over the filling and press the edges to seal. Brush the tops with a little more egg wash.
Place the turnovers on the lined trays and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, swapping the trays after 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden, crisp and cooked through.
Serve warm or at room temperature dusted liberally with icing sugar and accompanied by cream, if desired.
Good-quality puff pastry made with butter is key to these turnovers.
These turnovers are best served on the day they are baked either warm from the oven or at room temperature.
These clever cookies are the hybrid of a brownie and a chocolate chip cookie – dark, rich and chewy on one side and crisp, simple and familiar on the other. The perfect cookie really!
Chocolate chip cookie dough
125g butter, softened
110g (½ cup) granulated white sugar
55g (¼ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
1 egg, at room temperature
185g (1¼ cups) plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
125g good-quality dark chocolate (45-54% cocoa), coarsely chopped
Salted peanut brownie dough
125g good-quality dark chocolate (45-54% cocoa), chopped
100g butter, cubed
165g (¾ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
150g (1 cup) plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g salted roasted peanuts
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper.
To make the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat well. Sift together the flour and baking powder, add to the butter mixture with the chopped chocolate and mix on the lowest possible speed until just evenly combined. Cover and place in the fridge while making the salted peanut brownie dough.
To make the Salted Peanut Brownie Dough, put the dark chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Use a metal spoon to stir occasionally over low heat until just melted and smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and cool slightly. Use a balloon whisk to stir the sugar, egg and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until well combined. Sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda, add to the chocolate mixture with the peanuts and use a wooden spoon to stir until evenly combined. Cover and place in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes or until the same consistency as the chocolate chip cookie dough.
Take half a tablespoonful of both doughs and roll them together into a ball, keeping the different colours separate. Place on the lined tray, with the join between the two doughs running down the centre. Flatten to about 4cm in diameter and 1cm thick. Repeat to fill the tray, leaving about 5cm between the cookies.
Bake in for 12 minutes or until the chocolate chip half is golden and cooked through and the brownie halves are still slightly soft to touch. Cool on the tray. Repeat with the remaining cookie doughs in two more batches.
These cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days – the longer they are kept the softer they will become.
Scones are what I whip up if time is short – they are simple, fast and everyone loves them. The secret to the lightness of these scones is the surprising combination of lemonade and cream (instead of milk) – it may seem a little odd but, believe me, it works!
450g (3 cups) self-raising flour, plus extra, to dust Pinch of Salt 80g butter, cubed, softened slightly 125ml (½ cup) lemonade, at room temperature 185ml (¾ cup) pouring cream, plus extra to glaze Berry jam and whipped cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a baking tray with butter and then lightly dust with flour, shaking off any excess.
Put the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and the butter is evenly incorporated. Make a well in the centre.
Combine the cream and lemonade, add to the flour mixture and use a flat-bladed knife to mix with a cutting action until the dough comes together in clumps.
Use lightly floured hands to bring the dough together – it will be soft, but not sticky. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly and briefly (only about 6 times) to bring it together in a smooth ball.
Use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough out to about 2cm thick. Using a floured 6 cm round cutter, cut the dough into 9 rounds. Gathering the offcuts and, without over handling, pressing out as before, when necessary. Place on the prepared tray, 1-2cm apart. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the top of each scone with a little extra cream, then dust with a little extra flour.
Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, until the scones are lightly golden and cooked through; they are ready if they sound hollow when you tap them on the base. Serve warm or at room temperature, split and topped with jam and cream.
These scones are best eaten on the day they are made.
Prep 25min (+1hr 30min resting time)Bake 25minMakes about 12
An updated version of the traditional favourite, these hot cross buns are studded with chunks of dark chocolate and tart, dried cherries. They're simply too hard to resist – especially when served warm with lashings of butter!
750g (5 cups) bread or pizza flour (see Baker's Tips)
55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
2 sachets (7g each) dried yeast
1½ teaspoons mixed spice
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
150g (1 cup) dried cherries (see Baker's Tips)
75g (½ cup) currants
435ml (1¾ cups) milk
60g butter, cubed, plus extra, to grease and serve
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
100g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
75g (½ cup) plain flour
55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
Put the bread flour, sugar, yeast, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Stir through the dried cherries and currants.
Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has just melted and the milk is lukewarm. Whisk one of the eggs with the vanilla and add to the milk mixture. Whisk to combine. Add to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Lightly grease a clean large bowl with a little butter, add the dough and turn to coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Punch the centre of the dough down with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Knead in the chocolate. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on the tray, allowing room for spreading. Cover with a damp tea towel (dish towel) and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Meanwhile, make the Flour paste. Combine the flour and water in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spoon into a small plastic bag.
Whisk the remaining egg and brush the tops of the buns with it. Snip a small hole in the corner of the plastic bag containing the Flour paste and pipe crosses on the buns.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the buns are cooked and sound hollow when tapped on the base.
Meanwhile, make the Glaze. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and simmer for 1 minute. Transfer the hot cross buns to a wire rack and brush the tops with the glaze. Serve warm, spread with butter.
Bread and pizza flour (also known as 'strong' flour) has a higher gluten content than regular plain flour. This type of flour is more suited to use in yeast-based bread recipes like these buns and will give you a better final texture (the resulting bread will be more 'bread-like' with a slightly chewy texture rather than a fine, cake-like texture).
Dried cherries are available at selected supermarkets, delicatessens, grocery shops and specialty food stores. You can replace them with good-quality dried cranberries.
These hot cross buns are best eaten the day they are made. To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap and then seal in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw them at room temperature or split while still frozen and toast.
I have been baking this gluten-free pudding for years. Not only is it completely heavenly, it is also very clever and can be baked as a cake when you want.
Melted butter, to grease
Unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted, to dust
200g (1⅓ cups) chopped good-quality dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa is good)
125g unsalted butter, cubed
2 tablespoons marsala wine or freshly brewed strong coffee
165g (¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature, separated
Icing (confectioners’) sugar, to dust
Cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Brush a 2 litre (8 cup) capacity ovenproof dish (about 20cm diameter) with melted butter to grease. Lightly dust with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess.
Place the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water, and stir until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the marsala, 110g (½ cup) of the caster sugar and the egg yolks.
Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry large bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 55g (¼ cup) caster sugar and whisk until thick and glossy. Add one-third of the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture and use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold together. Fold through the remaining egg white mixture until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 55–60 minutes, or until crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the centre.
Remove the pudding from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve in scoops with cream or ice cream.
Chocolate Soufflé Cake: Bake the mixture in a 22cm (base measurement) springform cake tin that has been base-lined with baking paper, and then greased and dusted with unsweetened cocoa powder. Bake at the same temperature for 55–60 minutes. Leave the cake to cool in the tin. Cut into wedges to serve.
This pudding is also delicious served at room temperature. Leave to cool in the dish before serving.
Any leftover pudding will keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Leave to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
More a slice than a cake, I can’t believe I have only just discovered this gem from the land of the long white cloud. I can completely understand why it features fondly in the childhood memories for anyone who grew up in rural New Zealand!
Biscuit base 100g butter, at room temperature 110g (½ cup) caster sugar 1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract 3 egg yolks 225g (1½ cups) plain flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 320g (1 cup) good-quality raspberry jam
Coconut meringue topping 4 egg whites, at room temperature 220g (1 cup) caster sugar 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence 135g (1½ cups) desiccated coconut 1 tablespoon good-quality raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C). Grease a 20cm x 30cm slice tin with melted butter to grease and line the base and sides with one piece of non-stick baking paper, cutting into the corners to fit and allowing the paper to overhang the sides.
In an electric stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks until well combined. Sift together the flour and baking powder, add to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
Press the biscuit base mixture into the prepared tin to cover evenly. Bake for 10 minutes or until starting to colour (the base won’t be cooked through at this stage). Remove from the oven and spread evenly with the raspberry jam. Set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites in a large clean, dry mixing bowl on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well on medium-high speed after each addition. Continue to whisk until the mixture is thick and glossy, the sugar has dissolved and a trailing peak forms when the whisk is lifted. Whisk in the vanilla and then use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold in the coconut until evenly combined. Spread the meringue mixture over the raspberry jam to cover. Dot the 1 tablespoon of jam over the top of the meringue and then use a tooth pick or skewer to swirl it through the meringue mixture.
Return the slice to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and crisp to touch on top. Place on a wire rack and allow the slice to cool in the tin (about 1 hour).
Use the paper to help transfer the slice to a cutting board. Cut into portions to serve.
This slice will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Chocolate buttercream 125g butter, at room temperature 185g (1½ cups) icing sugar, sifted 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a square 20cm cake tin with melted butter and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Combine the butter, sugar and milk in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter melts, sugar dissolves and mixture is combined (see Baker's Tips). Remove from heat and use a fork to whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the coconut. Add the butter mixture and use a balloon whisk to stir until just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and use the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Stand in the tin for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool (this will take about 1½ hours).
To make the Chocolate buttercream, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a medium bowl until pale and creamy and it is a smooth spreadable consistency. Spread the cooled cake with the buttercream and cut into portions to serve.
Don’t overheat the butter mixture – as soon as the butter melts and the sugar has dissolved, remove it from the heat.
This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool spot for up to 3 days.
One of Scandinavia’s most loved cakes, both Sweden and Denmark have their own version of this wonderful cake (and, like all great cakes, the origins are unclear). A rich, buttery, moist cake toped with a crisp caramel-almond Florentine-like topping it is simply too good to care too much about its origins!
150g butter, at room temperature, plus extra, melted, to grease
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence
150g (1 cup) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
80ml (⅓ cup milk)
vanilla ice-cream or thick cream, to serve
Caramel almond topping
70g butter, cubed
75g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
70g (⅔ cup) flaked almonds
2½ tablespoons pure cream
1½ tablespoons plain flour
Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Grease a 22cm springform tin with melted butter and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at t a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on lowest possible speed until just combined. Add the milk and beat on lowest possible speed until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat on lowest possible speed until just combined.
Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and smooth with the back of a spoon. Place the tin on a baking tray and bake in preheated oven for 28 minutes or until almost cooked.
Meanwhile, when the cake has been in the oven for about 15 minutes, make the topping. Combine the butter, sugar, almonds, cream and flour in a medium saucepan, using a wooden spoon to stir over medium heat until well combined and the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2–3 minutes or until thickened slightly.
Remove the cake from the oven and increase the temperature to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Quickly pour the caramel almond topping evenly over the top of the cake and then use the back of a metal spoon to spread evenly to cover the top. Return the cake immediately to the oven and bake for a further 10–15 minutes or until the cake is cooked through and the topping is golden brown.
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a spatula around the outside of the cake to release the topping from the pan. Carefully remove the sides of the pan and set the cake aside for 1 hour or until cooled completely.
Serve in wedges with ice-cream or cream.
This cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Prep 30min (+35min pastry making time)Bake 1hr 15minMakes 8-10 serves
Classic apple pie (served with a overly-generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream, of course) is one of the perennial delights of winter and can only be improved by the addition of rhubarb and a deliciously rich vanilla sour cream pastry. This pie just may be a little hard to beat.
1 egg, whisked, for brushing 1 quantity vanilla sour cream pastry, shaped into a disc before wrapping and chilling as directed 2 teaspoons demerara sugar, to sprinkle pouring cream, vanilla ice-cream or custard, to serve
Apple and rhubarb filling
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste 1 orange, rind finely grated 110g (½ cup) demerara sugar 1½ tablespoons plain flour 1kg (about 6 medium) Granny Smith apples 750g trimmed rhubarb, cut into 4 cm lengths (see Baker’s Tips) 30g unsalted butter, finely diced
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
To make the apple and rhubarb filling, use your fingertips to rub the cinnamon, vanilla bean paste and orange rind through the sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in the flour. Peel, core and cut the apples into thin (about 3 mm) slices and place in a separate large bowl, along with the rhubarb and the sugar mixture. Use your hands to toss gently to combine evenly.
Spoon the apple and rhubarb filling into an ungreased 23cm diameter (top measurement) ceramic or metal pie dish (see Baker’s Tips) and then dot with the diced butter. Brush the edge of the pie dish with the whisked egg.
Roll out the vanilla sour cream pastry to make a pie lid about 5 mm thick. Use a 2cm round cutter to cut out a circle form the centre of the pastry. Carefully drape the pastry loosely around the rolling pin and place on top of the pie. Use your thumb and index finger to press the pie pastry top onto the rim of the pie dish to seal. Use a small sharp knife to trim the excess pastry from around the edge. Brush the top of the pie with some of the remaining whisked egg and then sprinkle with demerara sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (140°C fan-forced) and bake for a further 40-45 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked through and the apples are tender (see Baker’s Tips). Remove the pie from the oven and stand for 5 minutes before serving warm with cream, ice cream or custard.
For this recipe you will need a ceramic pie dish measuring 23cm across the top, 17cm across the base and 7cm deep.
You will need about 1kg untrimmed rhubarb for this recipe.
To check if the apples are tender, insert a skewer into the centre of the pie.
Prep 15min (+ 5min standing time)Bake 25min-30minMakes about 12
Savoury muffins are a great alternative to the sweet ones, especially when served as a snack or instead of bread alongside soup or salad. The zucchini in these makes them lovely and moist while adding substance.
Light olive oil or sunflower oil, to grease (optional) 150g (1 cup) plain flour 150g (1 cup) wholemeal plain flour 1 tablespoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 70g (⅔ cup) finely grated parmesan cheese 65g (⅔ cup) coarsely grated vintage cheddar cheese ¼ cup chopped basil leaves 185ml (¾ cup) buttermilk 80ml (⅓ cup) light olive oil or sunflower oil 2 eggs, at room temperature 2 zucchini (about 100g each) ends trimmed, coarsely grated 40g (¼ cup) pine nuts, to scatter Cayenne pepper, to sprinkle
Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan-forced). Line a 12-hole 80ml (⅓ cup) capacity muffin tin with paper cases or grease with a little vegetable oil.
Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, returning any husks left in the sieve to the bowl. Season well with pepper and then gently stir in the parmesan, cheddar and basil. Make a well in the centre.
Use a fork to whisk together the buttermilk, olive oil and eggs in a bowl. Add the zucchini and mix to combine. Add to the flour mixture and use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold together until just combined. (Don’t overmix – the batter should still be a little lumpy.)
Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin holes, dividing evenly. Scatter over the pine nuts and sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes or until the muffins are golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
These muffins are best eaten the day they are baked, however they freeze well – wrap individually in plastic wrap and then seal in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
Fun to make and scrumptious to eat, this homemade baked gnocchi combines pumpkin, tomatoes and spinach for a delicious, nutritious meal, made all the more fun by being served in individual dishes.
75g baby spinach
100g bocconcini, thinly sliced
350g unpeeled butternut pumpkin, deseeded and cut into 6 chunks
650g medium Desiree potatoes, unpeeled
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
110g (½ cup) plain flour, plus extra to dust
100g bacon rashers, trimmed and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon pouring cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a tray with a clean tea towel and dust lightly with flour.
Place the pumpkin in an ovenproof dish, cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until tender when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool slightly. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
Meanwhile, put the whole potatoes in a saucepan of water, cover with a lid and bring to the boil over medium heat. Boil for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender with tested with a skewer. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Next, peel the warm potatoes, return the flesh to the dry saucepan and mash until smooth (image 1). Use a metal spoon to press a third of the potatoes through a coarse sieve or fine colander into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining mashed potato in 2 more batches.
Remove the pumpkin skin from the flesh and discard. Add the flesh to the potato and mash together (image 2). Season well with salt and pepper. Add the flour and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a firm but slightly sticky dough (adding a little more flour if necessary) (image 3). Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll each out on a lightly floured bench top into a log about 2cm in diameter (image 4). Cut the logs into 2cm lengths and then roll each into a small ball (images 5 & 6). Gently roll each ball, one at a time, over the back of a lightly floured fork to form the gnocchi, placing on the tea towel-lined tray as they are finished (image 7).
To make the tomato sauce, cook the bacon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until starting to colour. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and sugar, bring to a simmer and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly. Remove from the heat, stir through the cream and season with salt and pepper.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add a quarter of the gnocchi and boil for 2 minutes or until they just rise to the surface. Remove from the water immediately with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain well before transferring to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi in 3 more batches.
Add the tomato sauce to the gnocchi with the spinach and gently stir through. Spoon the gnocchi and sauce into 6 x 250ml (1 cup) ovenproof dishes or ramekins, dividing evenly. Top with the bocconcini.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until bocconcini has melted and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven and stand for 5 minutes before serving.
You can also make this baked gnocchi by using 750g bought fresh gnocchi instead of making the pumpkin gnocchi.
You can also bake this recipe in a 1.5 litre (6 cup) ovenproof dish. The baking time and temperature will be the same.
There is nothing quite like a really good, simple white bread roll. These ones have a lovely soft crumb and a thin crust, perfect (as their name suggests) for dinner or as the Italians do, for breakfast with lashings of butter and jam or cheese.
500g (3⅓ cups) strong bread or pizza flour, plus extra to dust 1 tablespoon caster sugar 1 x 7g sachet instant dried yeast 1 teaspoon salt 375ml (1½ cups) lukewarm water 40g butter, melted and cooled, plus extra to grease 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon milk, to glaze Sesame and/or poppy seeds, to sprinkle
Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Combine the water and butter, then add to the flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic and springs back when you push your finger into it.
Brush a large bowl with melted butter to grease. Add the dough turning it to coat lightly with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Line two oven trays with non-stick baking paper.
Knock back the dough by punching it in the centre with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball by rolling it on the bench and place on the lined trays leaving about 5cm between each. Cover with a slightly damp tea towel and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 30 minutes or until well risen.
Brush the rolls with the egg wash to glaze, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds and then bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, swapping the trays halfway through baking, or until golden and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Oval Rolls: In Step 5, roll each portion of dough into an oval shape about 7cm long. Use a small sharp knife to cut a slit, about 1cm deep, along the length of the roll, starting and finishing about 1cm from each end, then continue with the recipe.
Knot rolls: In Step 5, roll each portion of dough into a sausage shape about 30cm long. Tie into a loose knot and continue with the recipe.
These rolls are best eaten the day they are made however they do freeze well – seal in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature.