These sweet, buttery and nutty treats are delicious with a cup of tea or coffee. Normally made with a yeast-risen dough, the buns in this recipe are made using a slightly faster method.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F/ 230 degrees C /Gas mark 8, and butter and flour the cake tin.
For the filling: Cream the butter and cinnamon together in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and then stir in the chopped toasted pecans. Set aside (not in the refrigerator).
For the dough: Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon together into a large bowl.
Add the caster sugar, then add the butter and, using your fingertips, rub it in until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Whisk the beaten egg and milk together in a separate bowl, then make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the liquid (all but 2 fluid ounces/60 ml). Using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, move your hand around in one direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) until the dough comes together. Cook's Note: You may need to add the rest of the milk as the dough should be soft and a little sticky.
To make the buns: Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and dust with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is a 14 by 10- inches/35 by 25 cm rectangle and about 3/4-inch/2 cm thick.
Spread the filling all over the rectangle, then with the widest end facing you, roll up the dough away from you so that it resembles a Swiss roll. Cut the 'log' 11 times to make 12 slices, each 1 1/4-inches/3 cm thick. Place the pieces cut-side facing up, with a tiny bit of space between each 'swirl', in the prepared cake tin.
Bake in the oven 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C/Gas mark 6 and cook for a further 25 to 35 minutes or until risen, golden brown and cooked in the centre. They should have joined together to make a lovely cluster of buns.
Allow the buns to stand in the tin for 2 to 3 minutes before carefully turning out and cooling on a wire rack. When cool, transfer to a serving plate or cake stand.
For the icing: Sift the icing sugar (confectioners') into a bowl, add 1 tablespoon boiling water and mix well, adding another 1/2 to 1 tablespoon boiling water, if necessary, until the icing is soft, but not too runny. Drizzle the icing over the buns.
To serve: Break each bun off with your hand or cut into slices.
Cinnamon scones: Instead of rolling up the dough and cutting it, you could make simple cinnamon scones. Roll the dough out until it is about 1 1/4- inches/3cm thick, then cut into 10 squares or rounds, each about 2 1/2-inches/6cm in diameter.
Brush the tops with beaten egg, then dip the wet top into crunchy granulated sugar so that they are covered in an even layer. Place on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees F/230 degrees C /Gas mark 8 for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden on top and sounding hollow when tapped on the base.
Allow to cool, then split in half and serve with the cinnamon pecan filling spread on each half.
*Cook's Note: Rachel's Baking Tips
To toast the pecans, roughly chop them and then spread out on a baking tray and cook in a preheated oven at 230 degrees C (450 degrees F), Gas mark 8 for 4 minutes. Allow to cool before using.
To reduce the cooking time, place the buns on a baking tray, spacing them further apart. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until golden on top and firm at the edges.