Very sticky Chelsea buns

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New Year diets are all very well but the time comes when you need a Chelsea bun. When that moment arises these are the Chelsea buns that you should be making. Sticky, rich and delicious. And if you foolishly don’t eat them all straight away, even several days later a few seconds in the microwave will bring them back to a highly acceptable sticky and aromatic warmth.

We got very enthusiastic at home about watching the Great British Bake-off before Christmas and it got me all excited about all things Bun. I’ve now made Chelsea buns a few times at home tweaking the recipe a bit each time. I started off with the recipe in Lynda Collister’s excellent Bread Book, but added considerably to the filling and the glaze. If butter, sugar and raisins are good, then surely more butter, sugar and raisins are even better? They certainly are in this case. I’ve also added cinnamon to makes these half way between a Chelsea bun and a Swedish cinnamon bun.

For the buns I’ve photographed for this blog post I proved the finished but un-cooked buns in the fridge overnight. This is not at all essential but it adds to the flexibility of making them to know that it works should you want to do it.

Tragically we don’t currently have space in our kitchens in either Hereford or Cambridge to be making these for the cafés but maybe in the future…

There are three bits to these buns: the dough, the filling and the glaze. That makes it all sound rather complicated but as long as you take it steadily it’s not too fiddly. But be sure the first time you make this recipe you’re not in a rush. It’s a really lovely thing to do on a cold wet winter’s day such as the one I’m looking out at while I’m writing this.

makes 9 buns

I use a silicone cake mould which is 22cm square. It’s fairly crucial that the tin you use has roughly these dimensions (or a similar total area) as the buns need to fit snugly in.

For the dough

450g white flour
5g salt
40g caster sugar
1 x 7g packet of dried yeast
170ml milk
60g butter, melted
1 egg, beaten

For the filling

40g butter, melted
100g light muscovado sugar
200g raisins
5g ground cinnamon (about 1 dsp)

For the glaze

50g honey
90g butter
120g light muscovado sugar

  1. To make the dough. Put all the ingredients a Kenwood chef (or similar) and knead for about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to rise until roughly doubled in size.
  2. Roll the dough out to a rectangle about 22cm deep and 40cm wide.
  3. Mix all the filling ingredients together and spread over the rectangle of dough eaving a margin of about 1cm at the far edge. Then roll it up like a Swiss roll as tightly as possible starting at the near long edge.
  4. Then divide into 9 slices with a dough cutter and put each of them on a cut side into the tin, quite close together but barely touching.
  5. Leave to rise until at least doubled in size. This can take as long as a couple of hours if the kitchen is cold.
  6. In a small pan stir all the glaze ingredients together.
  7. Once the buns have at least double in size, pour the glaze over and bake at 200C for about 25 minutes until the buns are golden brown.
  8. Leave to cool somewhat in the tin before attempting to remove or all the glaze will fall off. If you leave it too long and the glaze has hardened too much to get the buns out then put the tin back in the oven for a bit to warm the glaze up just enough to move them.