Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a good one and Santa brought you all the presents you wanted. Now commences the traditional week of turkey sandwiches in my household so I thought this would be a good time to catch up on posting the recipes I’ve been using over the past few days.
When I returned home for Christmas one of the first things my mum did was thrust a page torn out from a magazine at me and say “You could do this, couldn’t you?”. It was a picture of Chelsea buns done in the shape of a Christmas tree and would be prefect for breakfast on Christmas morning. (Which made a nice change from our usual breakfast of as much chocolate as you can eat.)
I made the dough and assembled the buns in a Christmas tree shaped paper case on Christmas Eve. Then popped them in the fridge overnight and then bunged them in the oven on Christmas morning to bake while we opened presents. For once I trusted a recipe totally. It is Paul Hollywood’s recipe from the BBC site so I was convinced that he would not lead me astray. It’s not often I put that much faith in a recipe’s author!(Although I have, of course, made a few changes to the recipe. I’m never satisfied!) However, I’m very glad that my faith was rewarded. There was a time when I was kneading the dough and it was sticking to everything that I thought I was going to have to give up and just add more flour but I persevered and it came together in the end!
It’s a lovely recipe full of Christmassy flavours. Orange, cranberry, cinnamon and mixed fruits all gloriously sweet and sticky but still not too heavy for all that. The zingyness of the orange lifts it all and it’s just really tasty! I think I’ll be making this recipe a lot more in the future, it does make me wonder hat other seasonal shapes I could make it into!
Makes 10 buns
500g strong bread flour
7g sachet fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
1 medium egg
25g melted butter
Zest of one orange
2 tsp cinnamon
75g light brown muscovado sugar
100g mixed dried fruit
100g dried cranberries
100g dried apricots, chopped
2 tbsp marmalade, warmed
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp orange juice
– Take a large mixing bowl and add your flour.
– Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Mix well and make a well in the centre of the flour.
– Put the milk and the butter in a jug and microwave for 1 minute until the butter is melted and the milk warm. Don’t heat it too much! The milk wants to be warm not hot.
– Add the milk and the egg to the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a soft dough. It will be very soft.
– When everything is combined tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and start kneading. It will be sticky so having a dough scraper in one had to lift it and kneading with the other had is probably the best bet.
– Knead it until it is smooth and elastic and looks more like a ball of dough. It will still be sticky but it will lift more easily and look smoother.
– Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave somewhere warm and draft free for 1 hour until doubled in size.
– Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to make a rectangle about 30cm by 40cm and about 1cm thick.
– Squidge the dough with your fingers along the long side nearest to you to tack it down onto the work surface.
– Brush the dough all over with melted butter.
– Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over it then scatter the dried fruits evenly over the dough.
– Starting from the far side roll the dough towards you, keeping the roll quite tight.
– Press down on the join to seal it together.
– Slice the roll into 10 slices, approximately 4cm thick.
– Place the slices cut side up in a well buttered tin. You can leave about 1cm between the slices as they will spread out. (I didn’t have space in my ‘tin’ to leave any room but it worked just fine!)
– At this point you can cover it and leave it in the fridge overnight or leave at room temperature for 30 minutes for the second rise.
– When ready to bake heat the oven to gas mark 5/190C and bake for 20-25 mins until just browning and cooked through.
– Take out of the oven and leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin (I couldn’t remove mine as they had stuck to the paper and the shape would be destroyed).
– While the buns are still warm brush with the warm marmalade.
– Mix the icing sugar and orange juice together in a bowl the drizzle all over the buns.
– Serve warm and don’t forget the napkins for sticky fingers!