Orange, Marzipan and Pistachio Bun Tree (Vegan)

2016-11-27-03-23-19-1

With Christmas around the corner, but deadlines and work standing in my way, I am squeezing in as many festive bakes as I can in between now and then. The first offering I have for you is this rather impressive looking Christmas Bun Tree, which uses festive flavours of marzipan and pistachios. The marzipan melts in the mouth in every bite, however if marzipan isn’t your thing, simply omit and be creative with your own festive fillings.

This recipe uses my tried and tested recipe from my Vegan Cinnamon Buns. Use whatever fillings you think would work, raspberry jam and marzipan would work nicely, as does pistachio and cranberry. Ensure you use a big enough tray that allows room for the buns to rise and bake. Drizzle with a simple icing made up with orange juice and icing sugar if you want, however I just sprinkled with icing sugar for that ‘snowy’ look. It may seem like a lot of effort but in fact they are very simple to make and it makes for a fantastic Christmas display. 

Ingredients for the buns:

  • 40g caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 7g instant dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200ml dairy free milk (such as almond)
  • 6 tbsp aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • 60g softened dairy-free butter (such as flora freedom spread)

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 80g dairy-free butter (such as flora freedom spread)
  • 80g dark brown sugar
  • 100g marzipan, torn into chunks
  • 50-100g pistachios, crushed
  • Dairy-free milk or dairy-free butter (melted) to glaze

Method:

  1. Rub the zest of the orange into the caster sugar in a large bowl. This gives for a much stronger orange flavour
  2. To the bowl, add the flour, salt and yeast and combine
  3. Gently warm the milk up in a saucepan, it shouldn’t be any warmer than tepid
  4. Add the milk, aquafaba and butter to the dry ingredients and combine together with your hands
  5. Knead the dough for up to 10 minutes until elastic smooth and shiny.  Don’t add any extra flour to the dough or the surface – use a bench scraper if it’s too sticky, but after being kneaded it will become smooth and easier to handle
  6. Set the dough aside in the bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size
  7. Meanwhile melt the butter until it is very soft, but not completely liquid (about 10 seconds in a microwave). Mix together with the brown sugar
  8. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll the dough into a rectangle which is 50x30cm long
  9. Spread the butter mixture over the dough, making sure it reaches right into the edges. Sprinkle over the torn chunks of marzipan and crushed pistachios
  10. Roll tightly long edge to long edge. Trim the ends then cut into 11 equal pieces
  11. Arrange on a baking tray like the photo above (one at the top, then a row of two underneath, then a row of three, then a row of four followed by one in the middle to create the tree ‘stump’). Leave a small space in between each one, about 1-2cm as they will expand even more
  12. Leave to rise for another hour or until they are puffier and touching each other. After 45 minutes, preheat your oven to 170oc
  13. After they have risen again, brush the tops with milk or butter then bake in an oven for 25 minutes (after 20 put some foil over the top to stop burning), they are done when they are a golden brown colour.
  14. Dust with icing sugar

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