It’s been very cold this week (I say very cold, it wasn’t that bad but I get cold quite easily), I had to wear gloves and a hat, and for me that means WINTER HAS ARRIVED! So my favourite thing to do when it’s cold is curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a blanket and watch trash telly. I felt like I needed some sort of sweet treat to accompany this. Since I’ve been getting into drinking chai tea again lately and I felt like baking something that involved a yeast dough, I decided on apple chai crumble rolls. Chai infused yeast dough, filled with chai pudding and apples and topped with as much crumble as I could possibly fit on top. Sound very cozy, eh? And guess what, they’re really not that hard to make, so lets get baking!
Chai Infused Milk:
2 Bags Chai Tea
250g Plain Flour
7g Dry Yeast
60ml Chai Infused Milk (more if dough is too dry)
1 Medium Egg
50g Caster Sugar
50g Melted, Unsalted Butter
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Medium Apples
250ml Chai Infused Milk
40g Caster Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Crumble (for 12 small rolls, if you want to make 7-8 large rolls half the recipe):
100g Plain Flour
25g Caster Sugar
25g Demerara Sugar
Put the milk on a medium heat and bring it to the boil. Keep your eyes on it and make sure it doesn’t burn. When it’s boiling take it off the heat and place the chai teabags in the pot. Let it steep for 8-10 minutes until the milk has a light brown colour and the chai taste is strong, but not not too bitter. Set aside to cool.
To prepare the yeast dough, start by adding 60ml of the milk (it shouldn’t be warmer than around 35 degree C now), along with the yeast and a bit of sugar to a mixing bowl. If you’re using dry yeast you need to let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes to activate it. If you’re using fresh yeast or activated dry yeast you won’t have to worry about the waiting time. The sugar will give the yeast something to feed on and will help activate it quicker. As soon as the mixture starts forming bubbles you’ll know that it’s alive and activated and you can proceed. If it doesn’t your yeast might be dead and you should start again with a new pack of yeast.
Add flour, the rest of the sugar, the egg and salt and start mixing it using a dough hook (you can use your hands but it will take a bit longer and more upper arm strengh). When the dough starts coming together add the melted butter (it should not be warmer than about 35 degrees either). Knead the dough for about 7-10 minutes until it doesn’t stick to the bowl anymore and comes off the dough hook easily.
Flour your work surface and give the dough a quick knead before forming it into a ball by tucking the sides under while turning the dough in a circle using both hands.
Cover the surface of the mixing bowl with flour, then place the dough ball in the bowl, cover it with more flour to prevent sticking and finally cover the bowl with a lid or a tea towel.
Leave the dough to rise for about an hour in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
Core the apples and cut them into bite size pieces. To prepare the pudding, add 200ml of the chai infused milk to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the vanilla extract, sugar and cornflour to the remaining 50ml of milk and whisk the mixture until there are no lumps. When the milk has come to a boil add the sugar-cornflour-milk mixture and whisk it on a high heat until it is nice and thick. Fold the apples into the chai pudding and set aside while we’re preparing the yeast dough.
Grease a muffin tin.
When the yeast dough has doubled in size roll it out with a rolling pin to a 30x40cm rectangle. Make sure that the work surface and the dough are floured so nothing sticks and the dough doesn’t rip.
Cut the dough into evenly sized, 30 cm long strips. I have made 7 larger rolls with strips that were about 4cm wide but you can cut it into up to 12 smaller strips if you want smaller rolls.
Stretch the individual strips a little bit lengthwise and add the chai pudding and apple filling to the whole length of the strip, leaving a cm free along the long side. Roll it up squeezing the bit we left without filling together to prevent the filling from coming out the bottom of the roll. It’s o.k. however if it spills out a little bit at the top. When the strip is rolled up it looks a little bit like a rose. Place the finished roll into the muffin tin and repeat this process with all the dough strips. Since they’re baked in the muffin tin, they’re very forgiving if they haven’t been rolled up neatly.
Leave the finished rolls to rise for another 30 minutes in the tin and preheat the oven to 180 degree C.
For the crumble add the butter, two types of sugar and flour to a bowl and, using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture has a crumbly, sand like texture. Half the recipe if you’re only making 6-7 rolls. Keep it in the fridge until the rolls have had their second rise.
When the rolls have risen again put as much crumble as you can fit on top. I like to stuff a little bit between the layers as well. Then bake the rolls for about 22 minutes.
They’re really nice when they’re still a bit warm as well and obviously best with a cup of chai tea!