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Chelsea Buns

An individually-sized yeast-cake, filled with a mixture of dried and candied peel. They were particularly popular during the 18th and 19th century, when London's 'Chelsea Bun House' was a favourite meeting place.

The recipe looks rather long-drawn-out, but in practice is easy.

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Key Features

  • Suitable for Vegetarians


For about 15/16 buns:

18 oz/540gr Strong White Flour + a little extra for dusting
1 packet of easy-blend-Yeast
1 teaspoon (5mg Salt)
½ pint/300ml Milk
2 oz (60mg) Unsalted Butter, plus a little extra for greasing the baking tray
1 large Egg, lightly beaten

For the filling:

6 oz/180gr Mixed Dried Fruit (Currants, Raisins, Sultanas)
3 oz/90gr Mixed Chopped Peel
4 oz/120gr Dark Soft Brown Sugar
4 oz/120gr Unsalted Butter – melted

For the Glaze:

2 tablespoons (30ml) caster Sugar
1 tablespoon (15ml) Milk

Equipment needed: A 13 x 9 ins (33cm x 23cm)


1. Sift the bowl – through a sieve – into a large bowl. This will aerate it, and make the buns lighter.
2. Make a well in the centre and add the easy-blend yeast.
3. Slowly warm the milk and butter together until the latter has melted, then add .this to the flour mixture. Partially mix this together then add the mixed egg and continue mixing to form a soft dough.
4. Knead for a further 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
5. Cover the bowl with cling wrap, or place it in a plastic carrier bag and place it in a warm place – such as an airing cupboard, until the dough has doubled in size – this might take about an hour.
6. Lightly grease the baking tray with a little butter.
7. Mix the dried fruit with the peel and sugar.
8. Remove the risen dough from the plastic carrier bag (keep the bag) and knock-it back with your fist to expel the air and restore it to its original size.
9. On a lightly-floured surface, roll it out into a rectangle of about 20 x 15 ins (51 x 38 cm).
10. Brush the surface with the melted butter, then cover evenly with the dried fruit.
11. Roll up the dough from the long side, in the style of a Swiss roll.
12. Cut this roll into 15/16 pieces, then arrange these evenly (flat-side-down) on the baking tray. Try to leave a little space between each piece.
13. Put the tray back into the plastic bag, and put them in a warm (not hot) place for about half an hour, by which time, they should have doubled in size again.
14. While they are rising, heat an oven to 200°C/400°/Gas 6.
15. Bake them for 25 minutes – or until they’re golden on top. Remove them from the oven
16. While they’re baking, make the glaze – this is done by dissolving the sugar in the milk, over a low heat, then bringing this to the boil, and then simmering for 2 minutes.
17. Brush the buns with this glaze, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool – so they don’t become damp on the bottom.
18. When they’re cool, break them apart.


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