A little twist on a good old British favourite, as these are made with almonds and mixed peel. Although one of the more time-consuming recipes in this book, these are fun to make at the weekend and well worth the extra effort. The aroma as they bake is incomparable! They are also a good test of your baking skills.
Chelsea buns keep well in the freezer for up to 1 month; you can simply defrost them in the microwave on a low setting for 2 or 3 minutes. If you like, you are welcome to change the dried fruits or the nuts to put your own spin on the recipe.
For the dough
100ml whole milk
10.5g (3 tsp or 1½ packets) fast-action dried yeast
2 tbsp granulated sugar
500g strong white bread flour, sifted, plus more to dust
15g sea salt
35g unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
sunflower oil, for the moulds (optional)
For the filling
150g candied mixed peel
150g flaked almonds
100g light muscovado sugar
100g unsalted butter
For the glaze
25g granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
For the dough, warm the milk in a microwave or saucepan with 120ml of water until tepid, then remove from the heat and add the yeast and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Leave covered in a warm place for 10 minutes until frothy.
Using your hands, rub together the flour, salt and chopped butter in a large mixing bowl until the mixture resembles crumbs, then make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture and the eggs, stirring to form a dough. Knead the mixture with your hands, or in a food mixer fitted with the dough hook, for 10 minutes. Put in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm, draught-free place to prove (rise) for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine the mixed peel, flaked almonds and muscovado sugar in a bowl; melt the butter and set aside.
For the glaze, mix 2 tbsp of boiling water into the sugar and vanilla extract to make a paste.
After the dough has proved, remove it to a large floured worktop and lightly knead for a minute, then split it in half. Don’t overwork the dough as this makes it harder to roll out. Using a floured rolling pin (and ensuring your worktop is still well floured), roll out one half of dough into a rectangle, about 45 x 30cm.
Brush some of the melted butter generously over the surface, then cover with half the almond mix, leaving a 1cm border around the edge so the filling doesn’t fall out. Now do the same with the other half of the dough.
Starting with the longest edge closest to you, gently roll both pieces of the dough up, brushing with more melted butter on the rolls as you go. When it is all rolled up, ensure the seams are underneath. They should look like big sausage rolls.
Trim the ends with a knife and divide each into six equal-sized buns, then transfer to muffin moulds spiral-side up, gently pressing them down to fit the shape (if your moulds are not made from silicone you will need to oil them lightly). Brush each bun with some of the glaze (reserve the rest). Cover loosely with cling film and return to a warm place for 30–45 minutes, until the buns have grown by one-third.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas mark 3½. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown.
Brush with more vanilla glaze and allow to cool in the moulds for 10 minutes before turning out. Leave on a wire rack, baked sides up, to cool completely.