Festive Chelsea buns

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45 min


6 large buns

* PLUS Cooking time: 5 minutes, Rising Time: 120 minutes, Baking Time: 25 minutes
Festive Chelsea buns

© Royalty-Free/Masterfile


  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 8-g pkg traditional dry yeast , about 1 tbsp
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • finely grated orange and lemon zests , of 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries


  • Proof yeast by stirring 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sugar into warm water until dissolved. Sprinkle yeast overtop. Do not stir. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat egg. Stir in milk, 3 tablespoons (45 mL) sugar and salt. When yeast mixture is foamy, stir into egg mixture. Stir in 2 cups (500 mL) flour and melted butter. Stir in more flour, 1/4 cup (50 mL) at a time, just until too stiff to stir.
  • Sprinkle counter with flour and place dough on top. Knead until dough is fairly smooth and only slightly sticky, about 10 minutes. When dough becomes too sticky, sprinkle counter with more flour. Place dough in a greased bowl. Loosely cover with greased waxed paper, then a damp tea towel. Let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • For filling, finely chop 1/4 cup (50 mL) walnuts. In a small bowl, stir chopped walnuts with 1/4 cup (50 mL) brown sugar, peels, raisins and spices. Measure out 1 tablespoon (15 mL) butter and set aside. For topping, measure 1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar, 1/4 cup (50 mL) butter and corn syrup into a saucepan. Coarsely chop remaining 1/4 cup (50 mL) walnuts and measure out cranberries. Set aside.
  • When dough has risen, preheat oven to 350F (180C). Lightly grease an 8 inch (2 L) square pan or coat with cooking spray. Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a rectangle 6 inches (15 cm) wide and 12 inches (30 cm) long. Spread with reserved 1 tablespoon (15 mL) butter. Then evenly sprinkle with raisin filling mixture. Beginning at a short side, roll up dough to make a tight roll. Using a serrated knife, cut roll into 6 thick pieces.
  • Cook topping mixture over medium heat until boiling. Let it bubble, without stirring, for 2 minutes. Caramel will be extremely hot. Carefully pour into greased pan, so bottom is evenly coated. Sprinkle with reserved walnuts and cranberries. Place each roll, cut-side down, in caramel coating. Heat from this hot caramel will speed up second rising. Let rise, uncovered, until rolls are doubled in size and fill pan, about 30 minutes
  • Bake, uncovered, in bottom third of 350F (180C) oven until a deep golden brown, from 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, place a baking sheet or piece of waxed paper on counter where buns will be cooled. Place cooling rack directly on top of buns, legs-side up. Invert pan onto baking sheet or waxed paper. Remove pan carefully, remembering that caramel can burn. Replace any walnuts or cranberries. Cool. Buns will keep well, uncovered, at room temperature for up to 1 day. Or cover and freeze.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 605,
  • Protein
  • 9 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 91.6 g,
  • Fat
  • 23.8 g,
  • Fibre
  • 3.5 g,
  • Sodium
  • 497 mg.

These are from David Moore, of David’s Breads, sold at All the Best Fine Foods in Toronto. They’re phenomenal, well worth the effort and can be made ahead.

Make ahead

Prepare topping first and pour into pan. Sprinkle with nuts and cranberries. Set aside to cool. Then prepare dough and let it rise. Fill, roll and cut dough into 6 pieces. Place dough in a room-temperature caramel-lined baking pan. Loosely but completely cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 1 day. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F (180C). Bake cold buns for a total of 35 to 40 minutes. If browning too quickly, place a piece of foil loosely over top.