Pret­zel buns with hazel­nut, dates and choco­late

The Guardian - Feast - - News -

Poach­ing pret­zels gives them that clas­sic crackly crust and the all-im­por­tant chew, while the malt ex­tract gives them great flavour.

Start with the dough: mix the salt and yeast with the flour, stir un­til well com­bined, then add the milk, wa­ter and malt ex­tract. Knead to a smooth, firm dough, then put in a bowl, cover with cling­film and set aside to rise for one to two hours.

Mean­while, make the stuff­ing. Roast the hazel­nuts at 200C/390F/ gas 6 for six min­utes un­til golden brown, then cool and chop finely.

Break up the choco­late and melt in a mi­crowave in 20-sec­ond bursts, stir­ring fre­quently, then mix with the hazel­nuts and dates.

Once the dough is risen and puffy, re­move from the bowl and knock it back. Cut into eight por­tions.

Make the buns by flat­ten­ing each piece of dough into a disc 10cm across. Put a heaped tea­spoon of stuff­ing in the mid­dle and bring the edges of the dough up and over to cover the stuff­ing. Dab the edges of the dough with a lit­tle wa­ter, then pinch to­gether firmly to seal. Fi­nally, roll into a smooth ball be­tween your hands and re­peat with the rest. Leave them to rise again for 10-15 min­utes on a lightly oiled bak­ing sheet cov­ered with a plas­tic bag.

To make the poach­ing liq­uid: bring the wa­ter to a boil in a large saucepan with the malt ex­tract. Once the buns have puffed up, gen­tly poach them, two or three at a time, for 30 sec­onds on each side, then put back on the bak­ing tray.

Brush each bun with a lit­tle beaten egg, then sprin­kle them gen­er­ously with se­same seeds. Bake at 240C/465F/gas 9 for 12 min­utes, un­til they are a deep, hazel­nut brown.

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