Years ago I cut a recipe for Chelsea buns out of a magazine, thinking that I would make them some time soon. However, the recipe remained unmade for a long time as every time I came across it I was reminded that I had neither strong white flour nor yeast in my cupboard. I was also somewhat hesitant to move away from the more familiar cake making technique into what was essentially bread making.
Since those days I have obtained a bread machine and indeed mastered the whole mysterious bread making technique with its help. So now, rather than being a slightly daunting recipe, Chelsea buns are something I make when I'm a bit too busy to fuss with making a cake. Thanks to my bread machine, it can get on for an hour and half, kneading, proving, resting and all that stuff whilst I get on with other things.
This weekend was one of those occasions. And having lovely stocks of mincemeat and jam, the whole process is made even less of an effort. All it requires is a few minutes loading the ingredients into the bread machine, then an hour and half later, knocking back the dough and rolling it out. Then I smear it with mincemeat, roll it up and cut into 12 pieces. These are arranged in a square tin and left to rise for another half an hour whilst I get on with jobs. Next into the oven for 20-25 minutes (another chance to do more chores). Finally out of the oven, onto a rack and a quick wipe all over with jam to glaze. Job done.
Today I used a combination of Figgy Pear Mincemeat for the filling and Pear & Vanilla Jam as the glaze, giving a delightfully fruity flavour. It would work equally well with Apple & Cider Mincemeat and Apple & Ginger Jam, or Plum and Orange Mincemeat with Plum & Cinnamon Jam. In my house, mincemeat is not just for Christmas!
Chelsea Buns (makes 12)
225g strong white flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
55g butter, diced
1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
2-3 tbsp mincemeat
2-3 tsp jam
Whisk together the milk and the egg and put into the bread machine pan. Put the flour on top to form a complete layer. Put the salt, sugar and butter into separate corners of the pan and the yeast in the centre. Set the machine for dough. Once the machine has finished, remove the dough from the pan and place on a floured surface. Knock back then roll out until about 1 cm thick. Smear a layer of mincemeat over the dough, leaving about 1cm around the edges. Start at one edge and roll up completely. Cut the roll into 12 equal slices and place each slice onto a well greased 20 by 20cm square tin so that the swirl is horizontal. Cover and leave to double in size. Bake in a pre-heated over at 190°C, gas mark 5 for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden. Remove from the tin onto a wire rack then use a pastry brush to glaze the upper surface with jam.