Unlike the mushroom soup, which was inspired by the season and a desire for something comforting to eat when everyone is sick, these dessert buns were inspired in a similar fashion to my Mandarin Orange and Dark Chocolate Won Tons. Wife had been craving steamed pork buns, and we tracked down a recipe that looked pretty good online, but when it came time to make them, miscommunication ensued and we ended up doubling the dough recipe, but not the recipe for the filling. It was quickly decided that instead of making more savory filling, the additional dough could be used to make dessert buns. (You can find the dough recipe at the steamed pork bun link above.)
For the rum sauce, heat 1/4 cup ea. rum, brown sugar, and butter in a small saucepan or pot. Bring to a simmer and add one cup of golden raisins. Cook the mixture until the rum sauce has lost that pungent alcohol smell and the raisins have plumped.
Stir the rum sauce into the apple-hazelnut mixture until it's fully incorporated. Separate your dough into handful sized balls (we've made this several times now, and the average is sixteen balls) and squish them down into flat circles. Put a spoonful of the mixture--strained to prevent the dough from breaking down--into the center of each circle and close the dough around the filling. Crimp with your fingers and then smooth it back into a ball shape.
These buns are meant to be steamed, and taste better if you do, but they can be baked as well, which is a great time saver if you don't want to cook them in batches. It takes about twenty minutes to steam a batch of buns, and seventeen minutes to bake them in a 375 degree oven. As an added bonus, there is always a little bit of filling that doesn't fit, and the combination of apples, rum, and hazelnuts is divine slightly warmed and served on vanilla ice cream like some strange deconstructed apple pie ala mode. In fact, if making dough and cooking each individual bun sounds like a hassle, I'm pretty sure the filling is worth making for it's ice cream application alone.