Pomme cannelles (Caribbean buns) are very close to my heart because they bring back a lot of childhood memories. The exterior of Caribbean buns, which are shaped with little pikes, is a little bit crustier than regular brioche. But the interior, mmmmmmhhh the interior is tender and buttery and so so good!
People usually bite around all the pikes before reaching the chewy and soft center, leaving the best for last!
These individual French West Indian buns are traditionally eaten for breakfast, fresh from the bakery, and preferably with some hot chocolate. The Caribbean buns, as with traditional brioche dough, aren’t very sweet which is why we accompany them with sweet hot chocolate. After all, Caribbean people do have a sweet tooth, we weren’t gonna be satisfied with some “bland” buns. Or you could eat them as if it was bread, with jam or cheese, as my sacrilegious husband, the hot-chocolate-hater, does.
Luckily for me, who tends to often get homesick, Caribbean buns are pretty easy to do and faster than most brioche buns as they don’t need to rise a second time after shaping. Contrary to most brioche recipes, the butter isn’t melted or added bit by bit during the kneading process. It is added at the beginning with the flour, and they are rubbed lightly together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, as if you were making pie dough.
After that the recipe is pretty straightforward, you need to knead the dough, let it prove, shape the Caribbean buns, brush them with egg wash, bake them and voila.
→ MAKE THE DOUGH
Heat the milk until lukewarm and pour it into a bowl. Stir in the sugar and yeast. Cover and let it sit for 10 min. Put the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it in lightly with your fingertips. Make a well and pour in the milk mixture and the eggs. Bring the mixture together until a dough is formed and knead it for 10 min.
→ PROVE AND SHAPE
Place the dough in an oiled container, cover and let rise until doubled in size. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each of these pieces into ropes. Wrap each rope around itself, placing one layer on top of another, like a snail shell. With a pair of scissors, make small notches in the buns every 2 cm (1 in), starting from the top. Bake according to the recipe’s instructions.
If you know a little bit of French you could wonder ‘Why the heck are these called pomme cannelle?’ as there are no pomme (apple) or cannelle (cinnamon) involved in the recipe. Well, it is because pomme cannelle is what we call sugar apples (a type of tropical fruit). And the shape of the Caribbean buns kind of resembles the exterior of a sugar apple.
These buns are typical of Martinique (the island where I grew up, aka paradise, check Google images if you don’t believe me) and you will never elsewhere (unless you go to a Caribbean bakery). So I do encourage you to give them a go and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Need I mention the briochy center again?
The same dough can be used to make a traditional celebratory Caribbean bread.
These Caribbean buns from the West Indies have crusty exteriors and very fluffy centers. Made from brioche dough, they are usually eaten in the morning with a cup of hot chocolate.
For the dough:
- 125ml whole milk (½ cup)
- 1 ½ tbsp sugar
- 10g active dry yeast (2 ½ tsp)
- 500g all-purpose flour (3 ½ cups)
- 2 tsp fine sea salt, heaped
- 200g butter, cubed (7 oz)
- 2 eggs, beaten and at room temperature
For the glaze:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp whole milk
- Make the dough. Heat the milk to 30°C (90°F) in a small pan over low heat or using the microwave. Pour it into a small bowl and whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 min. Bubbles should start to appear. Put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it in lightly with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk mixture and the eggs. Using your hand, bring the mixture together until a soft dough is formed.
- Knead and prove. Tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 min, until you have a smooth dough that isn’t too sticky. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove for 2 hours in a warm place. The dough should have doubled in size.
- Shape the buns. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough in on itself to knock it back and remove the air. Divide into 8 equal pieces (around 115g each or 4 oz). Roll each of these pieces into ropes measuring 35 cm (13 in) using the palms of your hands. Wrap each rope around itself, placing one layer on top of another, like a snail shell. This will give volume to the small ‘pile’ of dough. The extremity of the bun should be pointy. Place them on the baking tray, spacing them well apart. With a pair of scissors, make small notches in the buns every 2 cm (1 in), starting from the top.
- Bake. Preheat the oven to 210°C (400°F) and put a roasting tin on the bottom shelf to heat up. Carefully fill the roasting tray with hot water, this will help create steam that will make the exterior of the buns crustier and the crumb fluffier. Mix the yolk and milk together to make the egg wash and lightly brush the top of the buns with it. Bake the Caribbean buns in the middle of the oven for 30 min, until risen and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy with a cup of sweet hot chocolate while they are still a little bit warm.
Caribbean buns are best eaten warm on the day they have been baked but they will keep, stored in an airtight container for a couple of days.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 412
Keywords: breakfast rolls recipe, caribbean breakfast
Looking for other ideas for breakfast? Here are some of my favorite recipes: