Equally as enjoyable served fresh from the oven, or days later - toasted - with lashings of butter. Yes, please.
325 gm raw caster sugar
1½ Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, diced
1 cinnamon quill
750 gm (5 cups) plain flour
150 gm sultanas or golden raisins
50 gm dried apple, diced
30 gm candied orange, diced
14 gm (2 sachets) dried yeast
3½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
Finely grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
380 ml milk
100 gm butter, coarsely chopped
1. Combine 260gm sugar and 375ml water in a saucepan, then squeeze in juice of half a lemon and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, cut remaining lemon half into 5mm-thick slices, add to pan with Granny Smith apple and cinnamon quill. Bring to the simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook until lemon and apple are translucent (20-25 minutes). Strain, reserving fruit and syrup separately. When cool enough to handle, dice lemon, combine with apple and set aside.
2. Combine 700gm flour, sultanas, dried apple, candied orange, yeast, 3 tsp ground cinnamon, allspice, rinds, remaining sugar, reserved apple mixture and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan, warm over low heat until butter melts and mixture is lukewarm. Whisk in egg, then add milk mixture to flour, stirring to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). Place in a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).
3. Knock back dough, divide into 20 even pieces, then knead each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange dough balls into two concentric circles on a large round or rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving 1cm between each for dough to expand. Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).
4. Preheat oven to 220C. Combine remaining flour and 70ml cold water in a bowl and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle and pipe a cross shape onto each bun. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 200C and bake until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped (8-10 minutes).
5. Meanwhile, combine reserved syrup and remaining ground cinnamon in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until syrupy and combined. Brush thickly over hot buns, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.