You know, you’re in good hands when you read a cookbook and it’s full of useful tips that make you feel adventurous yet safe. That’s exactly how I feel every time, I open Julia Turshen’s cookbook, Small Victories. Throughout the book, Julia shares her love for cooking but she walks you through each recipe with tips on how to make each dish your own. And that’s exactly what I did with these jam buns. The basic bun recipe stays the same but you can switch the fillings and make them sweet or savory to suit your needs.
Besides, Julia’s recipes for tasty things such as fried chicken, kimchi fried rice, and her chocolate raspberry cake, there’s another part of this book, that I love; the “Seven Lists”! These lists include fun and creative ideas on what to do to when cooking and entertaining. She includes ideas on what to do with pizza dough, leftover chicken, chickpeas among many other things. One central theme but many ideas and tips on how to be successful in the kitchen without too much fuss and true to its name this book is full of small victories in every way possible!
Through this wonderful book, Julia is also taking a moment to raise awareness for childhood hunger by participating in a fundraiser with No Kid Hungry to help make food accessible for every kid. This is what Julia has to say and I think she’s pretty spot on which is why I’ve teamed up with her and a bunch of other talented folk to help get the word out! “This cookbook, like most cookbooks, assumes that whoever is reading it has access to food and not only the desire, but also the time, energy, and means to cook. How great would it be if that were the case for everyone? I firmly believe that if you have the privilege of eating however much you want whenever you want, you should spend some time ensuring that others have the same opportunity.”
To learn more about what you can do to participate, visit No Kid Hungry for more details. And as always, thank you!
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.