In England we are blessed with a long history of baking. Every region has it's own specialities such as the Eccles cake from Eccles, the Bakewell tart from Bakewell and the Bath bun from... well you get the picture!
It seems to me that our history is being lost, I rarely see these regional treats for sale any more. The supermarkets seem to favour muffins and cookies over our traditional baking. As much as I like muffins and cookies I would like to see English cakes as well.
Yesterday I did my bit to keep British recipes alive, I made Chelsea buns.
The Chelsea bun was invented in the 1700's and sold from The Bun House in Grosvenor Row in London. They became incredibly popular, apparently even King George couldn't stay away! Unfortunately the Bun House was demolished in 1839 so I can't sample the original.
I can make my own though, these are deliciously sticky buns made from an enriched bread dough that is rolled Swiss roll style with dried fruit spices and sugar in the middle they are glazed with sugar, syrup or honey.
I used a recipe from BakingMad and modified it a bit, this is my version:
For the dough
250g / 9oz Strong White Bread Flour
5ml/ 1 tsp salt
5ml/ 1 tsp white sugar
5 ml / 1 tsp Dried fast Action Yeast
25g / 1 oz butter, diced
100-120ml / 3-4 fl oz warmed milk
1 egg, beaten
For the filling
125g / 4 ½ oz mixed currants, sultanas and raisins
50g / 2oz Demerara sugar
15g/ ½ oz butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1.Grease an 18cm / 7 inch square shallow cake tin. Sift the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a large bowl. Rub in 25g / 1oz butter.
2.In a bowl, mix together the milk and egg. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and stir in the liquid. Bring the mixture together with a round bladed knife and knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the mixture is sticky add a little more flour.
3.Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to a 30 x 23 cm/ 12 x 9 inch rectangle.
4.Prepare the filling: Mix the dried fruit with the soft light brown sugar and spices. Melt the remaining butter and brush over the surface of the dough. Scatter the fruit mixture over the buttered dough, leaving a 2.5cm/ 1 inch border around the edge of the dough.
5.Starting at the long side of the dough, roll it up like a Swiss roll. Pinch the edges together to seal and then cut into 12 slices.
6.Place the rolls cut edges uppermost in the tin. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
7.Pre heat the oven to 190ºC/ 375ºF/ Gas Mark 5. Bake for 30 minutes or until risen and golden.
8.Remove from the oven and brush with honey and sprinkle with Golden Caster sugar whilst they are still hot. Then cool on a wire rack.
I've entered this into the I Love Baking event over at what's cooking? check it out here: http://whatscooking.us/forum