Chelsea Buns were originally made in London in the early 1700s. They are a sticky, sweet treat and are either finished with glacé icing or sugar syrup. They usually contain dried vine fruits, mixed peel and mixed spice. The method for Chelsea buns can be used with all sorts of other fillings, both sweet and savoury. This recipe uses almonds and apricots, but you could use chocolate and dried cherries, pecan nuts and dried peach or cranberries and orange. Try making a savoury version using some Parmesan cheese, basil and roasted strips of pepper marinated in garlic flavoured olive oil. The buns can be baked side by side on a baking sheet, so that they have to be pulled apart or baked in a round cake tin. The apricot glaze gives a lovely shine and a sweet, but tangy, finish.

Almond and Apricot Chelsea Buns

Makes 12

15g/½ oz fresh yeast

45g/1½ oz caster sugar

450g/1lb plain flour, preferably strong

5g/1 teaspoon salt

45g/1½ oz butter

1 egg

225ml/7½ fl oz tepid milk

Grated zest of 1 orange


55g/2oz sugar

55g/2oz butter, softened

Grated zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

85g/3oz almonds, chopped

85g/3oz dried apricots, chopped

Apricot glaze

1. Cream the yeast with 1 teaspoon of sugar.

2. Sift the flour into a warm, dry bowl with the salt. Rub in the butter and stir in the sugar.

3. Beat the egg and add to the yeast mixture with the tepid milk and orange zest.

4. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the liquid and gradually draw the flour in from the sides of the bowl to make a ball of dough. It should be soft, but not too sticky. Knead for 10 minutes on a floured surface or until smooth and elastic. Put into a clean bowl. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

5. Roll the dough into a square about 23cm/9 inches across.

6. Mix the butter with the sugar, orange zest and cinnamon and spread over bun mixture.

7. Sprinkle the chopped almonds and apricots over the butter and sugar mixture. Set the oven to 190C.

8. Roll it up like a Swiss roll and cut into 3.5cm/½ inch slices.

9. Arrange the buns, cut side up, on the baking sheet, side by side, and leave to prove for 15 minutes.

10. Bake for 20-25 minutes and brush with apricot glaze while still warm.

11. Leave the buns to cool on a wire rack before separating.