I feel incredibly nostalgic when I see this lilac, hardback edition of Enid Blyton’s Tales of Toyland. There’s a lovely picture of Tiptoe, the fairy doll and Jolly, the sailor doll, welcoming the toys into their home, one they made themselves out of toy bricks, for their first ever party. I just adored the world that Enid Blyton had created. I mean, fancy being able to go to a toy warehouse, in Toyland, and choosing a house design, building it in two days, then adding furniture from yet more boxes. For a small child this sounded like serious fun. This 1970’s reprint was quite possibly the first book I ever wanted to jump right into and join in the adventures.
But how did Tiptoe and Jolly end up in building their own house in Toyland? Well, they were rather ill-treated by the toys they shared a nursery with and decided to run away. Off they went, asking the way from a hedgehog, a mouse and a brownie. The latter directed them to a rabbit hole, down which they found an underground train station. Squeezing into the train with various elves, brownies, fairies, rabbits and moles they found themselves speeding along to Toyland. It was an absolute delight to read.
When they finally arrived at Toyland, and were allowed in (this wasn’t as straightforward as they’d anticipated), they built their house and filled it with furniture. Then they needed to have a party to meet their neighbours. They invited the clock-work clown, the toy soldiers, Mr To-and-Fro (one of those wobbly toys that wouldn’t lie flat – remember them?), the toy duck and the bunny with the pink ribbon.
Tiptoe and Jolly decided to serve egg sandwiches, creamy milk and buns with cherries on top. When disaster strikes and they don’t have any milk or eggs, Mr To-and-Fro suggests inviting Mrs Buttercup, a cow with beautiful manners, and Mrs Cluck, Mrs Cackle and Mrs Squawk, who would lay them an egg each.
And a great party is had by all.
Seven-year-old-me would have loved to have gone to that party. Egg sandwiches? Buns with cherries on top? (I ignored the milk part, I wasn’t a fan). Guests that laid the food?! So as a treat to my seven-year-old-self, I’ve recreated those buns.
Recipe for Cherry Topped Iced Buns Inspired by Tales of Toyland
Makes 20 buns (approx – depends on your sizing)
Mixing bowl, saucepan, hands for kneading or a mixer with a dough hook attachment, baking sheet.
- 350ml milk
- 25g unsalted butter
- 500g strong white flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 flat dessert spoon caster sugar
- 7g sachet yeast
- 200g Icing sugar
- 20 cherries
- Measure the milk and butter into a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted.
- Allow to cool so it is lukewarm.
- In a mixing bowl add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast.
- Pour over the lukewarm milk. You might not need all of it so take it slow.
- Mix. It will be slightly sticky.
- Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 – 10 minutes. It’ll become smooth.
- Turn back into the bowl and cover the bowl in clingfilm. Place somewhere warm and leave for one hour. It should double in size.
- Knock the dough back to deflate and cut into 20 pieces.
- Roll into balls and place on a greased baking sheet, well apart from each other.
- Cover again with clingfilm (only loosely) and allow to rise again for about 15 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees or 180 fan.
- Scatter some flour over the buns then place in oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Prepare your icing sugar according to packet instructions, place a spoonful on the top of each bun and add a cherry.