(Sort of) Chelsea buns

Like a lot of people, I watched this year’s series of The Great British bake off.

One of the last recipes shown was the Chelsea bun. I never tried that kind of buns before so I decided to give it a go.

I read the complete recipe before I made it. (I didn’t really know if I had all the ingredients for the filling but thought it would be ok anyway) so when I had to prepare the filling, I read: dried apricots, raisins, dried cranberries, I realized I only had the raisins… I also didn’t have apricot jam to glaze them.
Actually, I had but when I opened the jar, it did the “fizzzzz” , like when you open a bottle of lemonade, so I wisely decided not the use it.

So I changed the apricots into dates, the cranberries into pecan nuts (my ultimate favourite) and the apricot jam into cherry jam.
I didn’t really fancy the icing on the top so I decided to go without it.

At the end, I was really happy I changed the recipe. The nuts give something else to the bun, the cherry jam makes them look so good.
Anyway, here’s the recipe.

For 12 buns, you’ll need:

– 500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
– 1 tsp salt
– 7g of fast-acting yeast
– 300ml of milk
– 40g of butter, plus extra for greasing the tin
– 1 free-range egg
– 40g of sugar

For the filling:

– 30g of butter
– 75g of sugar
– 2tsp of cinnamon
– 100g of raisins
– 100g of pecans
– 100g of chopped dates

For the glaze:

– 1 tblsp of cherry jam, melted

Start by making the dough with all the ingredients, knead it for 5 to 10 min until elastic and smooth.

Leave it to rise in a warm place, uncovered for 1 hour.

After rising, put the dough back on the worktop, roll it out to get a big rectangle in front of you (about 40cm by 30cm).
Stick the end in front of you to the worktop by pushing it on it, this will make it easier to roll the buns.

Spread the butter on your rectangle, then the sugar and cinnamon and then your fruits and nuts. Press gently on them to make it stick to the dough.

Start to roll out that “sheet” towards you, you have to do it quite tight. You should end up with a big sausage like dough.

Cut that into 12 portions, and lay them on a baking tray, lined with baking paper and buttered. The buns shouldn’t touch each other yet.

Leave it for at least an other hour to rise. After that hour, the buns should start to join.

Bake for 25min, 200°C or until golden brown.

Brush each bun with the warm jam.

Eat warm or cold.

Mylène

Yeast

I’ve always been a bit passionate about making bread, brioches, pastries… Everything which includes a dough actually. The thing is, I’ve always been disappointed with the results I got. Most of the time my things didn’t raise properly, had a weird yeasty taste or were dry and not fluffy.

I always attributed my results to using dried yeast  and I really wanted to try fresh  yeast to see how different the  result would be. But where can I find that, I thought?…

I found my supermarket’s bread section sold it and when I went to see them they gave me this huge piece of yeast. It was very cheap for the quantity I had.

The texture of the yeast was very pleasant, soft and smooth. It was a big square of crumbly light brown yeast that you keep in the fridge. You can freeze it too, after you have crumbled it. I couldn’t wait to try using it and I quickly found a brioche recipe….

It needed quite a lot of time (4H30 to raise) but it tasted sooooooo good!!! It was fluffy, buttery, light, everything I was hoping for.

So if you always wanted to make your own brioche, I’d recommend using fresh yeast! I read that the dried yeast “rots” the dough and makes it taste horrible. There is the fast active yeast, which is very fine and the dried active yeast, which has much thicker particles that you’ve got to dilute in warm water or milk.

If you are allergic to yeast the best thing to do is to make sourdough, which is a mixture of water and flour, which does a reaction with the air and produces a natural yeast. I never tried it but I’m sure I’ll do it very soon.

Mylène