Back to non-laminated viennoiserie and this time it’s a pastry from Le Gibas in the south of France.

It uses olive oil in the dough and is flavoured with orange and anise.

I’m not a fan of candied orange peel so omitted this traditional ingredient from my recipe. I also didn’t have any anise seeds so substituted 1 tbsp fennel seeds.

I was curious by the reference to a “sponge starter” so did a bit of research behind it.

The sponge and dough method is used in bread making and comprises a two-step process.

First, the flour, yeast and water (sometimes milk) are mixed together and fermented. The fermentation process can last anywhere between 1 hours and 12 hours.

Next, they are added to the rest of the ingredients to form the dough.

I based my recipe on one by Eric W. Kastel but made a few tweaks.

Sponge starter
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp milk
1 cup bread flour
7g sachet instant yeast

Final dough
3 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp orange zest
1 tbsp orange flower water
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp fennel seed

Egg wash
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup caster sugar flavoured with 1 tsp cinnamon

Make the sponge starter by heating the milk to 30C, then adding to the flour and yeast. Mix with your hand, then set aside for an hour until it’s doubled in size.

Combine the sponge, oil, orange water, eggs and zest and knead in a mixer with a dough hook for a few minutes. Add the flour, salt and sugar then mix for 6 minutes.

Pour in the melted butter gradually, then mix for several more minutes until the dough comes together. Add the fennel seeds and mix to combine.

Leave the dough to rest for an hour, covered in a bowl.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces, then form into rounds. Set aside to rest for a further 10 minutes.

Roll each round out 6 inches long, then make four cuts into the centre and place on a greased tray in a crescent shape.

Brush with egg wash and cover for 45 minutes.

Bake for 15 minutes at 190C then reduce the heat to 175C and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Leave to cool for five minutes, then brush with melted butter and dredge in flavoured sugar.


Cheese gougères (cheese puffs)

Cheese gougères
Cheese gougères

So this is a bit off curriculum (not non-laminated viennoiserie this weekend) but it was my friend’s wedding celebration on Saturday night and I was on co-catering duties.

These friends, who I go back about 18 years with, got married in Canada a couple of months back but many of us were unable to attend.

So the celebration was a casual cocktail party for everyone to have a chance to congratulate the couple and hear about the Las Vegas stag/hen’s, the Canadian wedding and the honeymoon that stretched from Barcelona to Santorini to Sri Lanka.

Each of the three co-caterers were tasked with making three canapés – two savoury and one sweet. I went for cheese gougères, salmon tartare and vanilla cupcakes.

The gougères always go down a treat and this time was no exception. They are basically a choux dough with grated cheese, cayenne pepper and nutmeg added. What’s not to love?

You can use any time of cheese and traditionally you’d expect to see French varieties such as Gruyère but I like the flavour of parmesan.

I’ll be honest and say that I never get the usual rise out of my gougères like I get with regular choux buns and I’m assuming that the cheese inhibits the rise.

However, they taste absolutely delicious – crispy, cheesy outside and soft airy inside.

Cheese gougères

1 portion choux dough
120g grated parmesan cheese
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Make the choux dough as per the instructions, then add around 3/4 of the grated cheese, the cayenne pepper and the nutmeg.

Gently fold through the mix without overworking.

Pipe into small moulds, then brush with egg wash. Sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese and cook for 15-20 minutes.

As always, make a small incision in the base as they cool to keep them crisp.

Note – you can fill the buns with a range of savoury mousses, cheese sauces or duxelles for extra flavour.

Sweet roll dough (pecan cinnamon buns)

Pecan cinnamon buns
Pecan cinnamon buns

Non-laminated doughs are certainly a lot easier to work with than laminated.

This is a sweet dough roll that can be filled with a number of different combinations to make anything from British Chelsea buns, to American cinnamon buns to good old Aussie coffee scrolls.

It has a tender crumb due to the amount of butter and eggs used.

The process isn’t anywhere near as long or arduous as laminated doughs:

  • Mixing – very quick and easy using an electronic mixer
  • First fermentation – 1.5 hours in the mixing bowl
  • Shaping – rolling out the dough, filling it and then rolling up again. Cut into individual rounds.
  • Final proof – 1.5 hours in the baking tray
  • Bake – 30 mins

I went for an American classic using maple syrup, pecans and cinnamon to create a gooey, sticky, delicious mess.

I’m a big fan of apple and walnut scrolls from my local bakery so will try that at some point as well.

This would be a great recipe to use if you were hosting a brunch because you could make up a big batch of dough and then fill with a range of different flavours.

My husband loves cheesymite scrolls (Vegemite and cheese) so that will also be on the list to try!

Pecan cinnamon buns
Pecan cinnamon buns

Sticky pecan cinnamon buns


7g sachet dried yeast
75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
125ml milk, lukewarm
2 eggs
375g (2 ½ cups) strong white flour
125g butter, cut into cubes
1 tsp salt


2 tsp cinnamon
85g brown sugar
50g pecans
60g melted butter


60g melted butter
¼ cup maple syrup
50g brown sugar
50g pecans, roughly chopped

Combine the yeast, milk and 1 tbsp sugar in a bowl and set aside for five minutes.

Beat in the egg yolks, then add the flour, remaining sugar and salt. Fit your electronic mixer with the dough hook and mix on a low speed until a dough forms. With the mixer still running, add the butter one cube at a time then knead on a medium-high speed for 8 minutes.

Place cling film over the bowl and set aside for 1.5 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, blitz together the cinnamon, brown sugar and pecans until you have a fine crumb.

Roll the dough out into a 20cm-30cm rectangle. Using a pastry brush, paint a layer of butter across the rolled out dough. Sprinkle on the ground cinnamon, sugar and pecans then press gently into the dough with a rolling pin.

Roll the dough up tightly like a Swiss roll, then carefully cut into 12 small rolls.

Mix together the second lot of melted butter, maple syrup and sugar then pour half over the bottom of a 30x20cm baking dish. Place each of the 12 rolls into the baking dish, leaving around 2cm space between each one.

Leave to proof for another 1.5 hours, then bake for 180C for 30 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes, then top with the last of the topping and sprinkle across the pecans.

If you want a final sugar hit, drizzle with glace icing made from icing sugar, milk and a dash of melted butter.