Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mini Chelsea Buns

Two of the my favourite things about the British: 1) The ability to crack a really good joke with a deadpan 2)The ability to sit down for tea even in times of crises.

For the first, I think it stems mostly from my innate cynical and sarcastic outlook on life. The second, is due to the fact that I absolutely love tea and the pomp and fuss that comes with a true British afternoon tea. I recently bought a book on afternoon tea for my coffee tea table and found myself drawn to a rather simple recipe for mini Chelsea buns. Chelsea buns are the British version of the cinnamon bun and usually has currants and other dried fruit.
Let me warn you that these things are addictive! They are so tiny that before you know it, you've swallowed 18 of these - honey-soaked fingers, contented smile and all. Serve with some first flush Darjeeling tea and a pot of raw wildflower honey for a great afternoon tea experience.

Note: I made this non-dairy but you can (and should) use milk and butter for this recipe, it makes a WHOLE lot of difference

Mini Chelsea Buns
Adapted from Afternoon Tea by Susannah Blake
Makes 16 mini buns

3 1/2 cups (420g) bread flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 oz. active dry yeast (one packet)
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups milk (or unsweetened soy milk)
3 oz. butter (or shortening), melted
2 eggs beaten
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
3 tablespoons dried currants
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Honey, for brushing

Sift the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into a large bowl. Place a saucepan over low heat and add in the milk and butter, stirring gently until the temperature is lukewarm. Remove from heat and mix in the beaten eggs.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture. Use a stiff spatula to combine all the ingredients until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface and knead until smooth and shiny (about 10 minutes). If using a machine, knead for 5 minutes.

Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place for about an hour until the dough rises to double its size.

Grease an 8x8 inch pan. In a small bowl, combine the apricots, raisins, currant, brown sugar and cinnamon. Divide the dough into four equal sections. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the each dough section into a rectangle, measuring 5x8 inches. Brush lightly with melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly. Roll the rectangle into a log, beginning with the long end. Brush lightly again with some melted butter to seal the ends. Cut into four equal parts and arrange in the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining dough, such that you get 16 buns. Wrap the baking pan in plastic wrap and let stand for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the buns for 20 minutes at 400°F. Remove and brush the tops lightly with honey, return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack. Tear apart and serve.


Sunshine said...

Oh how fantastic! I love the British humour as well as tea time. We should have a virtual tea party! I can't wait to go home and bake some of these.

Fay said...

Mmmmm, as a Brit myself I can confirm that a cup of tea solves everything and it is actually required in times of crises.

These buns look very tasty - you should also try a classic cream tea with a scone, jam and clotted cream. Life really doesn't get any better :)