The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan & Chelsea Buns

“Two and a half hours later, and the Chelsea buns have been taken out of the oven. The exhausted bakers appraise their creations, assessing their relative merits: the extent to which the vine fruit have caught; the neatness of the cinnamon swirl; the uniformity of the buns; their softness; the merits of simple caster sugar versus an apricot glaze and drizzled icing top.” ~The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan

Chelsea Buns


1 lb strong white flour, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp salt

1/4 oz sachet fact-action dried yeast

10 fl oz milk

1 1/2 oz unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 egg

vegetable oil for greasing

For the filling:

1 oz unsalted butter, melted

3 oz soft brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

5 oz dried mixed fruit

For the glaze:

2 tbsp milk

2 tbsp caster sugar (superfine sugar)


  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. make a well in the middle and add the yeast
  2. Meanwhile, warm the milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter melts and the mixture is lukewarm.
  3. Add the milk mixture and egg to the flour mixture and stir until the contents of the bowl come together as a soft dough. (You may need to add a little extra flour.)
  4. Tip the dough onto a generously floured work surface. Knead for five minutes, adding more flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer feels sticky.
  5. Lightly oil a bowl with a little of the vegetable oil. Place the dough into the bowl and turn until it is covered in the oil. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside in a warm place for one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Lightly grease a baking tray.
  7. For the filling, knock the dough back to its original size and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle 1/4 in thick. Brush all over with the melted butter, then sprinkle over the brown sugar, cinnamon and dried fruit.
  8. Roll the dough up into a tight cylinder, cut ten 1 1/2 in slices and place them onto a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving a little space between each slice. Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Bake the buns in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown.
  11. Meanwhile, for the glaze, heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Remove the buns from the oven and brush with the glaze, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.

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