“An indulgent croissant-cinnamon bun hybrid, spiced with the season’s most fragrant citrus. Make these the day before and bake in the oven for a lazy Christmas Eve morning. The dough takes a little planning, but you’ll be surprised how simple it really is. ”
Mix the flour, sugar and 2 teaspoons of sea salt in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the yeast.
Warm the milk and pour over the yeast. Let it sit for a few minutes, then mix quickly with a knife to form a dough.
Knead for 3 to 4 minutes, or until smooth, then shape into a rough rectangle. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 2 hours.
Just before the 2 hours are up, place the butter between 2 large sheets of greaseproof paper and use a rolling pin to beat and roll the butter into a flat rectangle, about 20 x 30cm (try to keep the edges as straight as possible). Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 20 x 45cm. Place the chilled butter at one end, so it covers two thirds of the dough, fold the other third over the butter, then fold over again.
Turn the parcel 90 degrees and roll back out to 20 x 45cm. Fold as before, then wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 45 minutes. Repeat this process twice more, chilling in between.
Combine the cardamom, cinnamon and sugars, then finely grate in the clementine zest. Melt the butter and grease a 12-hole deep muffin tin.
Roll the dough to 30 x 50cm, brush with the remaining melted butter and evenly sprinkle over the spiced sugar. Roll up tightly lengthways, trim the ends so it’s 45cm long (prove the off-cuts and bake on a separate tray – cook’s treat!), then cut the log into 12 pieces.
Place the pieces of dough cut-side up in the muffin tin, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave to prove at room temperature for 1 hour, or until risen by half. Chill the tin of buns in the fridge for 30 minutes, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.
Place the muffin tin on a tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway, or until golden. Cover with foil for the final 10 minutes if they are browning too much.
Flip onto a wire rack, then scatter over the 3 tablespoons of caster sugar to serve.