This month’s challenge was hosted by Wendy from Quirky Cookies Cakes who challenged us to make Chelsea Buns. Her recipe was a combination of her school economics class from where she was 13 and Liz Herbert’s excellent book Bread, which is published by Simon & Schuster for the Women’s Institute.
- Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a mixing bowl (I used my KitchenAid as usual). Make a well in the centre and add the softened butter, egg and milk. Mix to make a soft dough.
- Knead until smooth. It's at this point I remember how much I love my KitchenAid, and make myself a coffee.
- Cover and prove until doubled in size. I find that if I'm in a hurry the airing cupboard can do this in around half an hour, and I've had no adverse side effects from quick proving so far.
- Generously butter and line a 7" square tin. Make sure it's not a loose bottomed one, or you'll get problems later on and loose your filling.
- Flour your work surface, and roll out the dough, (no need to knock it back) to a rectangle measuring about 12 x 9 inches. If you get the edges as square as you can it will help to make your buns look even, but I quite like the squiffy homemade look. Well, that's my excuse and I'm damn well sticking to it!
- Spread the softened butter as evenly as you can over the dough. Sprinkle the sugar and the dried fruit on top, and gently press it into the butter.
- Now, roll up the dough along the long edge, as though you were making a Swiss Roll (and don't tell me you haven't!) Seal the edge. I find that smoothing it down with the flat side of a paring knife can help here, but don't get too ocd over this bit.
- Turn the roll over so that the seal is underneath and divide the roll into 9 equal buns.
- Place the buns, cut side down, into the buttered and lined tin, and leave to prove until the dough has doubled in size, and they have all joined together into one big Chelsea bun muddle.
- I baked mine in a 180 degree oven, for about 15 minutes, but I've got a particularly hot and fast cooking oven. You know your oven better than I do, and I suspect most of you will need to set the oven slightly higher, and /or cook for a little longer. Some recipes suggest covering the buns with parchment or foil, but the fan is so strong in my oven this has never worked for me.
- Once cooked, cool on a wire rack, and eat them as soon as you dare. Or, of course, if you're my kids, cover them in icing first.
I found this a very easy recipe, following it exactly, although I added some cinnamon to my filling and used chopped up dried apricots in place of the dried fruit. I baked the buns in a quiche dish. As there were no children eating my buns, I decided they were sweet enough and left the icing off. And something of a first for me I baked it on the second of the month, a full 26 days before the deadline!
Delicious and definitely one I shall be repeating.