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A Belgian bun is a sweet bread that are popularly eaten as desserts. Despite its name, it is doubtful if this yeast dough bun has very much to do with Belgium. It may have been inspired by the the finger shaped and less icing-covered Belgian pastry couque suisse, however. Unlike the couque suisse pastry though, the Belgian bun is usually round or square with rounded edges; it looks similar to a Chelsea bun. It is often filled with sultanas and other fruits and liberally topped with lemon curd or cream icing and a cherry.
Belgian buns are sold in many bakery shops, but they can also be made at home quite easily. The main ingredients that are required for making it are butter, milk, yeast, sugar, flour, eggs, and sultanas; currants and raisins may also be used. The first step in making a Belgian bun is to heat the milk and melt some butter in it. The yeast and sugar are dissolved in water and then added to the milk and butter. Some beaten eggs are then added to the mix.
The flour is well-sifted into a large, deep bowl, and the above mixture is gradually added to it, stirring it in properly. The dough that is formed is hand-kneaded to give it a smooth, well-combined texture. The bowl is then covered with a damp cloth and the dough is left to sit for a couple of hours. In this time, the yeast will do its work and cause the dough to rise to at least double its original size.
After the dough has risen, it is removed from the bowl and placed on a well-floured, flat surface to undergo some more kneading. When it is nice and soft, small pieces are detached from it and are shaped as required into rounds or squares. These are then studded with sultanas and other fruits, brushed with melted butter and sprinkled all over with powdered sugar. The pieces are again left to sit and rise for about half an hour. They are then baked at a high temperature.
The buns will generally take about 20 minutes to bake. After they are done, they are removed from the oven and set aside to cool. The cooling time can be used to prepare the lemon curd or sugared icing dressing. This is spooned on or poured over the cooled Belgian bun, and the whole is then topped off with a cherry.
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