Mini Pizza Buns

from Emily (who loves food)

It’s the week before everything’s due. If I had exams, it’d be the week where I desperately crammed a semester’s worth of study into a new caffeine-lengthened days. But I don’t – so instead I’m trying to find the cheapest place to create an a1 poster, gassing my own room with the smell of oil paint, making interactive roll-overs on New Zealand immigration and actually binding a book.

Comfort food, I need you.

Cue these mini pizza buns – packed full of comforting brain food. And a bit of cheese.

These little fellas make the perfect lunch. The whole wheat crust, chilli beans and spinach are all low GI, so the slow release of energy keeps you going for hours, but they really don’t taste healthy. They’re great to take to work, to uni (and I can imagine these would be an ideal school lunchbox filler) because they’re so portable, and honestly, they’re not a chore to make. Done and dusted in two hours or so (that’s including the crust!)

I really encourage you to try this filling combo, because it’s delicious and super-duper healthy, but really, you could pack them with anything. Ham and well-drained pineapple for a Hawaiian version, or shredded chicken and barbeque sauce. The only fiddly bit is putting the filling inside the buns, but sometimes you just need to get stuck in and get your hands a bit messy. Especially when you’re supposed to be doing something else.

 

 

Mini Pizza Buns – Makes 15 buns

Prep time: 45mins  Cook time: 15-20mins

Crust:

  • 1 tbs (or 1 1/2 8g packets) of dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups high-grade bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour

Filling:

  • 1/2 an onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 small bell pepper/capsicum, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chilli beans
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato-based pasta sauce
  • 2 tbs ketchup
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Good shake of each: dried basil, thyme, coriander and chilli flakes (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese of choice
  • Good grind of salt and pepper

 

To make the crust:

Heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan over low-medium heat on the stove, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture feels warm (but not hot) when you stick your finger in. Sprinkle over the yeast (don’t stir, but if it seems like a lot of the yeast wont come into contact with the milk, you poke it with your finger a bit). Leave for 5mins to foam up. Once it’s foamy, stir in the salt and oil.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (alternatively, just a large mixing bowl if you want to knead by hand) combine the flours. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the yeast mixture, stirring to combine the dough.

Knead on the dough hook for 6 mins, or by hand for 8 until it’s elastic and tears from the centre, not the edges. Place in a well-oiled bowl covered with a damp tea towel, and place in a warm spot (such as the airing cupboard) for an hour to double in size. While it’s rising, make the filling.

To make the filling:

To make the filling, heat a little oil in a frypan/skillet over medium-high, and cook the onion, garlic and tumeric until tender. Add the capsicum, and cook until slightly soft. Add the chilli beans and corn kernals, and continue to cook everything together (don’t let the beans become mushy though – turn the heat down if you need to.)

Add the tomatoes/pasta sauce, sugar and ketchup, along with the herbs and spinach, and bring to a simmer for 2-3 mins until everything thickens up. You don’t want it to be a dribbly or runny consistency.

Finally, stir through the cheese to melt it, which should thicken up the mixture again.

To assemble:

Separate the risen dough into 15 equal parts, flattening them into disks about 5mm thick.

Place about 1 1/2 tbs of the filling in the centre of each disk, pinching the edges closed into a round parcel and placing it seam-side down on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Repeat with the other 14 buns.

Cover the buns on the cookie sheet with a damp tea-towel, and leave to rise for a further 40mins while you preheat the oven to 190C.

Sprinkle a little cheese over the buns after their final rise, and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins or until lightly golden with a firm crust.

Allow to cool before eating.

The buns will keep in an airtight container, or you can pop them in the fridge and take them out the night before.

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