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Normally at the weekend, I like to do some baking that takes a bit more effort than what I usually get up to during the week.  I’m not a really big fan of yeast baking, but I am a huge fan of Chelsea Buns . . .  and the shop bought ones are usually so disappointing, so this weekend I decided to try to make my own with excellent results, using a recipe I got from a National Trust baking book.  They are excellent sources of traditional recipes.

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Chelsea is an area of London which is well known for a few things . . .  the Chelsea Flower Show each Spring, the Chelsea Pensioners, it’s posh Night Life, the Sloane Rangers . . .  and these lovely buns. The Chelsea bun is a type of currant bun that was first created in the 18th century at the Bun House in Chelsea, an establishment favoured by Hanoverian royalty which was demolished in 1839.

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I like them because they are stogged full of lovely dried fruits and candied peel.  They are quite similar to a cinnamon roll, but I think they are much better than cinnamon rolls.

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 They make the perfect teatime treat, sliced and buttered.  I like to warm them a bit.   They go down really well with a hot drink.  I am usually quite intimidated by yeast doughs, but these went together quite easily and they tasted eons better than any I have ever bought ready made.  Probably because they were fresh!

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*Chelsea Buns*

Makes 9

These buns were originally made and sold in the Old Chelsea Bun House, in Pimlico, London.  Dense and fruity and great served warm and buttered with a nice hot cuppa. 

225g of strong white bread flour, sifted (1 1/2 cups plus 2 TBS)

6.25g of dried yeast (1 packet)

1 tsp caster sugar

125ml of warm milk (1/2 cup)

15g of lard, softened (generous TBS)

pinch salt

1 medium free range egg, beaten

50g of butter, melted (1/4 cup)

50g of raisins (1/3 cup)

50g currants (1/3 cup)

50g sultanas (1/3 cup)

25g of mixed candied peel (1/4 cup)

50g of soft light brown sugar (1/4 cup)

honey to glaze 

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Grease an 8 inch round tin.   Put 50g (about 1/3 cup) of the flour into a bowl##/s.  Add the yeast, suar and milk.  Mix to a smooth batter and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes until frothy.    Drop the lard into the remaining flour and rub it in.  Add the salt, the yeast mixture and the beaen egg.  Mix to a soft dough.  Tip out onto a lightly floured board.   Kneat for about 5 minutes, until really smooth.   Place into a buttered clean bowl, cover with a clean damp cloth and allow to stand in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size. 

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Knead again on a lightly floured board and then roll out to a 9 by 12 inch rectangle.  Brush the surface with the melted butter.   Sprinkle the dried fruit, candied peel and soft brown sugar evenly over top, leaving a narrow edge all the way around.  Roll up like a Swiss Roll (Jelly Roll)  (Roll from the long side.)  Brush the edges with water and seal carefully.   Cut into nine equal pieces and place the rolls, cut side up,  in the prepared tin.  Recover and leave in a warm place for a further half hour until well risen. 

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 6.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.   Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.  Brush the tops with honey while they are still warm.   To serve, pull apart and eat warm or cold, with or without butter.

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