I’ve wanted to make these Earl Grey morning buns for a *very* long time, but I never got around to it, partly because they’re a commitment and partly because they require some difficult-to-find ingredients. For example, how many of us can readily find vanilla bean paste in the grocery store? Maybe you can, but then you’re luckier than I am.
However, shelter-in-place has actually been a boon to my baking because if I can’t find an ingredient in the store, I can probably find it online for even cheaper. Yes, it takes some digging and price comparison, but at the end of the day, I usually get what I need. I would recommend Amazon as a great source of ingredients. You can usually find what you need for cheaper than store prices and it ships to your house, so you avoid the store entirely.
I ordered some loose leaf Earl Grey tea to make these buns and cacao nibs for the filling and outside. I also got the aforementioned vanilla bean paste, which smells like heaven and makes me want to use it in everything.
Even though I love the flavor and texture combinations in these buns (fragrant Earl Grey tea, sweet chocolate and sugar, tangy and crunchy cacao nibs), they got me thinking about other combinations. I might do a lemon lavender bun soon because I think that would work well. My boyfriend wants buns with a cinnamon sugar interior, which I think would also be delicious. Honestly, the possibilities are endless. You just have to make minor tweaks to the dough and find or create another filling that works for you.
I like to store my buns in the refrigerator in an airtight container after day one so they keep longer. If you want to bring them back to day one status, just reheat them in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute. The sugar filling on the outside will melt a little but they still taste as good. I ate one alone this morning and I made it last by taking apart each layer and eating it separately.
ANYWAY. Here is the recipe for the buns. The only note I’d have is to be very careful when you’re making the chocolate custard. The eggs and milk can curdle easily, so err on the side of using too little heat than too much. Also, stir the entire time so you further reduce the chance of curdling.
Here’s a song to get you started on your Earl Grey morning bun journey.