Recipe: Festive Chelsea Buns – by Sue Stoneman

Christmas is just around the corner and to get you into the festive spirit, I’ve made some Chelsea Buns and instead of putting them into a rectangular baking tin, it’s quite fun to arrange the buns into the shape of a Christmas Tree for their second prove before going in the oven and then decorating them with glace cherries and glace icing. Still a ‘Share n Tear’ plate of sweet sticky buns and it will brighten up any table. It would work well with Cinnamon Buns, Olives, Sundried Tomatoes and even Pizza filling for a savoury snack.


Here’s the recipe:

You will need to put your oven on at 190C and find your largest baking sheet and line it with baking parchment or a silicone sheet

To make the dough:
500g Strong White Flour
1 sachet dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1 egg
300ml milk
40g unsalted butter

For the filling:
100g cranberries
100g sultanas
100g dried apricots
25g unsalted butter
75g soft light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Zest of 1 orange
1 egg for glazing

For the topping:
Glace cherries
Glace icing – made up of icing sugar and water into a thick paste

What to do:
Melt the butter and warm the milk. Into a bowl tip the flour, dried yeast and salt. I use a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook to mix my dough. Add the warm milk, butter and egg and bring the mixture to a smooth dough which may take about 5-8 minutes.

Alternatively mix by hand and knead for about ten minutes on a lightly floured surface. Leave the dough to prove for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

While the dough is proving, weigh out the dried fruit and chop up the dried apricots. You could use mixed dried fruit. Melt the butter in a small bowl. Put the sugar with the cinnamon into a bowl and mix well.

Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and give it a little knead. You then need to roll it out into a rectangle about 40 x 25 cm with a long edge just in front of you. Take a pastry brush and cover the dough with the melted butter.

Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mix evenly over the top followed by the dried fruit. Press it down into the dough with the palms of your hands. Sprinkle over the grated zest of the orange for extra citrusy flavour.

Now take the long edge and carefully roll it away from you to make a long swirl, popping back in the pieces of fruit that may fall out. Cut this into 12 even slices and arrange them cut side up in the shape of a Christmas Tree. You can put the swirls fairly close together as you want them to stick together. Leave to prove in a warm place for about half an hour before brushing with beaten egg and placing them in the oven to cook for about 20-25 minutes.

Check after about 15 minutes to see that they are not burning. Cover with tinfoil if you need to. They are cooked if they sound hollow when tapped underneath. Take them out of the oven when cooked and leave to cool. Carefully transfer onto a large wooden board or tray and when cool enough, decorate with glace icing and chopped up glace cherries. Alternatively you could give your Christmas Tree a shiny glaze by melting a tablespoon of apricot jam with a little water and paint it on with a brush. A dusting of icing sugar always adds a ‘snowy’ feel.  Best eaten on the day you make them – and not long after you have decorated them and are still slightly warm. Try eating them without licking your lips or your fingers!

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