I have a new addiction: Chelsea Buns. Sweet, spicy bread filled with a scrumptious swirl of brown sugar, raisins, dried cranberries and chopped pecans, brushed with Marsala and orange juice and topped with a sticky honey glaze.
When I decided that I wanted to post about these cute little buns, I baked some up! 1 batch. 2 baking pans. 16 buns in total. By the end of the day they were all gone and no pictures had been taken.
Sure, the Rocking Rebel had one or two, but he wasn’t the one to blame for 14 missing buns. I was. I ate them all. I was doing some research for my thesis that day and I just kept on running back to the kitchen to get another bun and to make more tea and before I knew it, they were gone. All 14 of them. Like I said: I have a new addiction.
In the end, I had to bake up another batch of buns to photograph, so I guess it’s a good thing I like these things so much!
I mean, just look at them. Fluffy and gorgeous on the inside…
… and deliciously sweet and sticky on the outside!
By the way, the Rocking Rebel took this picture! He’s so gifted! He’s actually been helping me a lot lately. Not only did he take this gorgeous photo, he has also been helping me wash up a lot, which – sadly – is a huge aspect of keeping a food blog up and running.
Doing the dishes and taking the occasional photo is a very rewarding job, though. He gets to eat the sweet leftovers afterwards! Such as the second batch of Chelsea Buns!
I got the idea for these buns from my mom, who, each year around November, becomes positively obsessed with a certain nut mix that is only available in fall and winter. Instead of your regular nuts and dried fruits, in contains season-appropriate things, such as dried cranberries, candied orange peel, sugared almonds and toasted pecans. Sounds familiar, right?
Anyway, I thought the flavors worked beautifully together, so I decided to jazz up a Jamie Oliver recipe for Chelsea Buns. Eventually I ended up changing the entire recipe, combining ingredients and techniques from Jamie Oliver’s recipe with techniques and ratio’s from a recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, The Pioneer Woman, who has a gorgeous recipe for Cinnamon Rolls.
The resulting recipe works brilliantly!
By the way, if you like honey toasted pecans as much as I do, make sure to sprinkle some extra chopped pecans on top of the buns just before you pop them into the oven.
Serve warm with a lot of napkins!
- 240ml (or 1 cup) milk
- 55g (or ¼ cup) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1¼ teaspoon active-dry yeast
- 370g (or 2¾ cup) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 25g (or 3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 75ml (or 5 tablespoons) Marsala wine or sherry
- the juice and zest of ½ an orange
- 40g (or ¼ cup) dried cranberries
- 60gr (or ⅓ cup) raisins
- 70g (or about 5 tablespoons, packed) light brown sugar
- 100g (or ¾ cup) chopped pecans
- 5 tablespoon honey
- First, make the starter. In a medium-sized pan, combine the milk, butter, honey and sugar. Gently heat over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool until the milk mixture is warm and no longer hot. Yeast doesn’t do hot, so a good way to test whether the milk is cool enough, is just dipping your finger in it. If you find it pleasantly warm, yeast will like it too.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the milk mixture and let it ‘bloom’ (aka: get soggy and wet and a little bubbly). In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour and spices, then add it to the milk mixture in the pan. Stir together with a fork, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1-1,5 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- When the dough has almost finished rising, start with the filling. In a small saucepan, combine the Marsala wine (or sherry) with the orange juice and zest. Heat gently, until the first bubbles start to appear at the sides of the pan. Then add the cranberries and raisins. Using a spoon, press the fruit down into the wine mixture, making sure the wine mixture covers most of the fruit. Leave to soak for 10 minutes.
- Finish the dough. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add it to the dough in the pan and stir together with a wooden spoon. Cover the countertop with baking parchment and lightly dust the parchment paper with flour. Using your hands, briefly knead the dough and place it on the countertop. Dust with more flour and press down into a rough rectangle shape. Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough into a rough rectangle, about 50×20 cm (or 20×8 inches) and about 0,5-cm (or one-fifth on an inch) thick.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the dough generously with the wine mixture the raisins have been steeping in. Sprinkle on the brown sugar and chopped pecans, then squeeze out any excess moisture from the raisins and cranberries before sprinkling these over the dough as well. Starting at the opposite end, roll the dough towards you, forming a tight roll. Place the roll seam side down on a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, cut 2,5-cm (or 1-inch) thick slices of the roll. Place the slices cut-side down and about 1-inch apart into two buttered 27×18-cm (or 10×7-inch) oven pans, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for another 30-60 minutes, or until the rolls have doubled in size. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180°C or 375°F (standard oven setting).
- Once the buns have risen nicely, brush the tops of the buns with the rest of the wine mixture and bake them for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. In a small saucepan, gently heat the honey, stirring continuously, until thin and runny. Brush the buns with the warm honey and bake for another 5 minutes, until sticky and golden.
- Serve warm!