Sticky Chelsea Buns with Pecans and Cranberries
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
For the starter:
  • 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
To finish the dough:
  • 25g (or 3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
For the filling:
  • 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
For the glaze:
  • 5 tablespoon honey
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Serve warm!
Recipe by The Tough Cookie at