Pinch of Saffron
21g fresh yeast
50g golden caster sugar
460g strong white flour
105g unsalted butter – cut into small pieces
½ tsp salt
3 eggs (1 for glazing)
4 Beldi Preserved Lemons, flesh removed, skin cut into small pieces.
2tbsp plain flour (for the crosses)
Heat the milk with the baharat and saffron until it is nearly boiling then take it off the heat, allowing it to infuse for 30 minutes. Check the temperature and if it is similar to, but not higher than, blood temp (37C), add the yeast and a ½ tsp of sugar. If the milk is too cold, gently warm first before adding the yeast and sugar.
Put the flour in a large mixing bowl (or food mixer bowl, if using), add the butter and rub in with your fingertips till well combined and then add the sugar and salt.
Beat the 2 eggs and then make a well in the centre of the flour mix. Add the eggs and the milk mixture (making sure you get all the spice and saffron threads) and then begin mixing with a sturdy spoon until combined. If it looks dry, add a splash of milk. Knead with your hands for around 10 minutes (or slightly less if using an electric mixer). The dough should look smooth and have an elastic texture. Grease another bowl and then place the dough in it. Cover with a kitchen cloth or cling film and put in a warm place to allow to prove. It needs to double in size, which will take between 1-2 hours.
Place the dough onto a clean, dry and lightly oiled work surface. Flatten the dough out using your hands or a rolling pin and spread the preserved lemon and barberries evenly. Roll up the dough and then knead again to allow the fruit to spread. Roll into a long sausage shape, divide the dough by 12 and then roll into buns.
Put on a baking tray that is lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. If you like your buns to stick together so that they have to be torn apart, keep close together, otherwise allow some space between them. Score the tops of the bun with a sharp knife from edge to edge (this is for the crosses) Cover and put in a warm place so that they prove again, doubling in size.
Heat an oven to 180°C. Now you need to make the crosses and glaze the buns. Beat 1 egg with a little milk and brush the buns all over with the glaze. Mix the flour with a little water to make a stiff but workable paste and with a spoon or piping bag, paint 2 lines in the grooves on top of the buns. Put into the oven and bake for around 20 minutes so that they have a lovely golden colour.
When the buns are in the oven, make the glaze by mixing 2 tbsp of golden caster sugar with 2 tbsp boiling water. When the buns are ready, brush them all over with the syrup and then place on a wire rack to cool.