You can make these a day ahead, store them in an airtight
container, and warm them in the oven just before serving.
60 gmpure icing sugar, mixed with scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean, for dustingTo serve:firm ricottaApple marmellata5Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced1 tbsplemon juice460 gmcaster sugarYeast dough14 gmfresh yeast or 7gm (1 sachet) dried yeast100 gmcaster sugar5egg yolks375 gm (2½ cups)plain flour160 mlmilkFor greasing:vegetable oil½lightly beaten eggFinely grated rindof ½ a lemon150 gmsoftened butter, coarsely chopped
For apple marmellata, combine apple, lemon juice and 200ml water in a wide saucepan. Bring to the simmer over medium heat and cook, covered, until apple is just tender (5-10 minutes). Add pips and caster sugar and bring to the boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until apple is translucent (2-4 minutes), then remove from heat and cool in pan. Makes about 1½ cups.
For yeast dough, combine yeast, 2 tsp sugar, 1 yolk, 30gm flour and 30ml warm milk in a bowl and stir until smooth. Cover with a damp tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in volume (2 hours). Place 225gm flour in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 2 yolks, remaining sugar, 70ml milk and yeast mixture and mix until a sticky elastic dough forms (5-10 minutes). Transfer to an oiled bowl, turn once, then cover with a damp tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (2 hours). Knock back dough and return to electric mixer with remaining flour, remaining yolks, lightly beaten egg, lemon rind and remaining milk and mix until smooth and elastic (10 minutes; you may need to add a little extra flour if dough is too sticky). Gradually add butter, mixing well after each addition. Cover with a damp tea towel and stand in a warm place until tripled in size (2 hours).
Knock back dough, divide into 16 and roll each piece into a ball. Place in 16 buttered and floured 250ml decorative moulds and stand until doubled in size (1 hour).
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Bake cakes until an inserted skewer withdraws clean (20-30 minutes). Remove from tins and serve warm dusted with icing sugar, with apple marmellata and ricotta to the side.