Little balls of soft milk bun dough are baked on a bed of tangy rhubarb and strawberries, soaking up the bubbling juices while the fruit becomes luscious and jammy. A warm vanilla custard adds just the right note of creaminess.
- 900 gm rhubarb, cut into rough 1.5cm pieces
- 250 gm strawberries, hulled and halved
- 80 gm brown sugar
- 80 gm caster sugar
- 1½ tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp vanilla bean extract
- Juice of ½ orange and ½ lemon
- Icing sugar, for dusting
Milk bun dough
- 500 gm plain flour (3⅓ cups)
- 100 gm caster sugar
- 21 gm dried yeast (3 sachets)
- 250 ml lukewarm pouring cream, plus extra for brushing
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 125 gm softened butter, plus extra for greasing
- 3 egg yolks
- 60 gm caster sugar
- 350 ml pouring cream
- 150 ml milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 1For milk bun dough, pulse flour, sugar, yeast and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook to combine. Mix in cream and egg, then add butter a little at a time, kneading until incorporated between additions. Knead until smooth and silky (3-4 minutes), then place in a buttered bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (1½-2 hours).
- 2Preheat oven to 180C and butter a 4-litre round baking dish (about 26cm diameter) and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, flour, vanilla and juices in a bowl, toss to combine, then spread evenly in prepared baking dish.
- 3Knock back bun dough and pinch off 20 even-sized pieces, roll each into a smooth ball and arrange closely in concentric circles over fruit mixture. Cover and stand in a warm place until buns rise by about a quarter (1-1¼ hours). Brush tops with extra cream and bake until buns are golden brown and fruit mixture is bubbling (1-1¼ hours). Stand for 5 minutes.
- 4Meanwhile, for vanilla custard, whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale (2-3 minutes). Bring cream, milk, and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer in a saucepan, then, whisking continuously, add to yolk mixture. Return to pan and whisk continuously over medium-high heat until thick and just simmering (2-3 minutes). Strain into a jug or bowl (discard vanilla bean).
- 5Dust pudding with icing sugar and serve hot with warm vanilla custard.