Not so long ago a friend told me about a bun that a bakery used to make to which he was very partial. It carried the rather peculiar title of Elephant’s Foot Bun. I asked him to describe it and then set to work putting a recipe together – getting him to test taste to ensure that the end result was exactly as it should be.
Normally it is filled with apple, but having the wonderful luxury of exquisite mulberries this week, I decided to convert it to mulberry and apple filling. I reserved some of the juice from the mulberries for colouring and flavouring the icing.
We made it for afternoon tea for the happy preservers here that day. It was a great hit, rivalling even the Monkey Bun I spoke about in the last blog. It is truly worth making as the brioche style dough complements the mulberries to perfection.
If you can’t get mulberries, use any sort of berry- it will still be great, though mulberry is the ultimate choice of course. Here is the recipe, followed by a photo.
Elephant’s Foot Mulberry Bun
500g plain flour
5 teaspoons dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
60g melted butter
1 cup warm milk, approximately
2 eggs, lightly beaten
200g apples, peeled and diced
2 to 3 teaspoons cornflour, optional
Sugar to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten, extra
For the icing
2 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons butter, softened
Few drops cochineal or about 2 tablespoons mulberry juice
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl, then make a well in the centre and pour in the butter and milk. Mix well to form a soft dough, adding a little more milk if necessary, then cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place until about doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Meanwhile place the apple and mulberries in a saucepan over low heat and simmer until the apple is soft. Sweeten the mixture to taste. If needed, thicken the mixture with the cornflour mixed to a paste with about one tablespoon cold water.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and cut off three small (half walnut sized) pieces. With the remaining part, roll out into a circle the size of a dinner plate. Brush the edges with a little of the extra beaten egg, then place the cooled fruit mixture in the centre.
Brush the edges of the large piece with the egg, then gather up the edges and press well together, then turn over with the seams to the bottom, making in effect a circular parcel. Place on a baking paper lined baking tray(cookie sheet), seam side down. Brush all over with beaten egg. Roll the three small pieces of dough into balls and attach on one edge of the parcel (these represent the elephant’s toes). Brush these with egg.
Allow to rise (covered with a tea towel) for 20 minutes. Bake at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 160 degrees and cook for 15 minutes more or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the icing, mix together the icing sugar, butter and enough boiling water or mulberry juice to make a smooth spreading consistency. If you are colouring the icing with cochineal instead, add just a few drops. Spread over cooled bun and sprinkle with the coconut.