Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Buns

Sharing this recipe with you has been on my to-do list for a long time now. I made these for the first time around this time last year and have just been waiting for pumpkin season to come around. So when I returned from a weekend in the country with two huge pumpkins, I knew now was the time to make some pumpkin purée. 

When my friend Natalie from today is beautiful asked me if I had use for her homemade cashew icing which she had leftover from her latest baking session, everything just fell together, and the stage was set for my all-time favourite pumpkin and cinnamon swirl buns.

The fillings are obviously something that can easily be varied, and you can let your imagination run wild here. Basics are just butter and sugar, and anything else can be whatever you like, any spices or fruit. Or you could also make them savoury by making a vegetable sauce or paste. My favourite one still remains chocolate - I mean, nothing beats chocolate. However, yesterday, I was also hit with a craving for cinnamon. And because I can be a very indecisive person, I just went with both! 

Ingredients

for the dough

  • 80 ml warm milk (vegans can sub with nut milk)
  • 4 tbsp butter (or vegan butter)
  • 1.5 tsp dry instant yeast
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 115 g pumpkin purée *
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (vegan: sub with 1 chia or flax egg, see here)
  • 315 g flour ( I used a mix of white wheat and spelt flour)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves

* easily done: Halve and deseed a pumpkin (I used hokkaido), lightly brush with sunflower or coconut oil, place cut side down on a lined baking tray and bake for 20 - 25 minutes at 180°C until the pumpkin flesh is soft. After letting it cool down, peel off the outer skin and using a hand or stand mixer, blend the pumpkin until you get a creamy consistency without lumps (I added 1 - 2 tbsp water just to make it a little easier to blend in the beginning). 

for the chocolate filling

  • 3 tbsp butter (or vegan butter)
  • 50 g coconut blossom sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 100 g dark chocolate, grated or chips
  • pinch of sea salt

for the cinnamon-walnut filling

  • 3 tbsp butter (or vegan butter)
  • 50 g coconut blossom sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 2 handful of walnuts, crumbled into small pieces
  • pinch of sea salt

for the cashew icing

  • 130 g cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 400 g icing sugar
  • 60 ml almond milk (or less - depending on consistency)
    adapted from Connoisseurus Veg

Instructions

1. Warm the milk, add the butter, and let it melt. 

2. Mix together all the dry ingredients: flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, yeast and sugar. 

3. Add the pumpkin purée and the egg. Add the milk-butter-mix when it is lukewarm and with your hands rub everything together. 

4. On a floured surface knead the dough a couple of minutes until it is soft and stretchy. 

5. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for an hour. In the meantime prepare the filling (or fillings) by mixing all the ingredients until you get a paste-like structure. Set aside. Prepare the cashew icing by putting the cashews in a blender and mixing until you get a thick paste. Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the icing sugar bit by bit. Add the milk until you get a creamy consistency. 

6. Roll the dough out into a rectangle. Spread the chocolate filling on one half and the cinnamon-walnut one on the other (if you're doing both). 

7. Cut the rectangle into stripes (roughly 3 - 4 cm) across the shorter side - I'm not that great with thinking spatially, so you'll have to check the pictures or just follow your guts ;-)

8. Roll up the stripes into swirls and place in a greased casserole or cake tin. Let rise for another 20 minutes until you've preheated the oven to 170°C. 

9. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. While the buns are still warm drizzle on some of the cashew icing and enjoy!