These buns are a bit of a Northern classic, sweet and substantial but not much of a looker. One may even ask why you would want to eat a sweet sticky lemony bread covered in thick icing. However, I think that is an outrageous question and anyone who has ever eaten a cheap and cheerful iced bun knows why.
For the dough
250g strong white flour
~7g of fast-action yeast (or 1 and a half level teaspoons)
2 tablespoons of golden caster sugar
175ml of luke warm milk
Zest from 1 lemon
75g mixed candied peel
For the icing
200g icing sugar
juice of one lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1. Measure out the flour, then add the caster sugar and yeast to opposite sides of the bowl and mix all the dry ingredients together.
2. Cube the butter into small pieces and rub into the dry mix gently with the ends of your fingers until it all incorporated. By adding the fat of the butter the dough will become richer than your average loaf.
3. Add the egg and stir through the dough. Next add the milk a little at a time, stirring with a spoon to start with but switching to your hands as the dough becomes more sticky. Due to the rich, softness of iced buns this is going to be a sticky, wet dough to work with. Tip it out of the bowl onto a lightly oiled surface, and knead for approximately 10 minutes until it is nice and elastic.
4. Put the now nice and smooth dough back in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to prove for 1-1/2 hours. It should be doubled in size when it is ready.
5. Knock some of the air out of the dough and gently knead in the peel and lemon zest.
6. Divide the dough into 6 roughly equal portions and shape into balls by rolling gently under the palm of your hand. Alternatively you could shape them into iced fingers by rolling the dough like a sausage. Put on a baking tray lined with parchment and leave to prove for a further 40-60 mins. Importantly always cover the proving dough with a loose sheet of cling film or a plastic shopping bag to stop the air getting to it.
7. Preheat the oven to 220•C, then bake the buns for 15-20 minutes until nice and golden.
8. Once the buns are cool, make the icing by add the juice of one lemon to the icing sugar. The amounts in the ingredients are roughly accurate but you may need to use some judgement here depending on the size of the lemon etc. You want the icing to be nice, thick and white (ha), but thin enough to drape lavishly over the buns (haha). I dolloped mine on in what I would call a rustic style but if you want to do it neatly feel free to try.
9. Finally zest a little lemon over the top of each bun.