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The Chelsea Bun, a popular yeast based currant bun that was originally made in Bun House, Chelsea during the 18th century. The Chelsea bun seems to be a little outdated nowadays and I have tripped into countless Bakers shops to find that they are no longer on the shelves. The bakers seem to have sidelined some of the traditional recipes in favour of current trends. I notice that the muffin has moved into pole position, I must admit that some of the fruit muffins (especially the Blueberry) look most unappetising, but the chocolate muffins are fabulous! We have a small independent local Bakers shop which still sells Chelsea buns. As I said a little earlier Chelsea buns have a yeast base dough. When the dough is made it is then rolled and cut into rectangles, a syrup is made in a saucepan using sugar and water and then dried fruit and spices are added to make the filling. Each bun will end up looking like a Catherine wheel, so after the dough has been rolled into rectangles it is then spread with butter to enrich it even further, the fruit and syrup mixture is then spread directly onto the rectangles of dough and then the finished article is rolled like a Swiss roll and then cut into individual servings. When the `buns` are being put onto the tray to cook they need to be packed closely together, as they cook the yeast based mixture will swell and as they have been kept closely together during cooking the buns will stay in shape. Before the buns are finally put into the oven to cook they need to be brushed over the top with a little sugar and water syrup and then sprinkled with a little extra sugar. The Chelsea bun is delicious, a veritable feast! A spiral of sweet bread laced with fruit and spices. Very often the cooking process makes the bun a bit crusty on the top. My favourite way of tackling a Chelsea bun is to dissect it carefully. Place the Catherine wheel shaped bun onto your plate and make inroads by teasing the open end away from the bun. As you pull at the sweet strip you see spices mingled with currants and raisins. The dough looks mottled where the spices and fruit have permeated the sweet bread. A piece of kitchen roll or a napkin is an essential when eating a Chelsea bun, the thick sugar coats your lips and to save any embarrassment it is far easier to be prepared. I wasn't in the Girl Guides for nothing you know! The bun is quite filling and as you eat your way through that sweet and fruity Catherine wheel any earlier pangs of hunger will have faded. I would always advise that you have a cup of tea on hand to wash it down with, after all it is a man-sized bun. The quality of the bun relies heavily on the maker, I know that you can buy Chelsea buns that are mass produced, but for me that's not the answer. I much prefer to hand over my pennies to a baker who has some knowledge of baking buns of yesteryear. If by any chance you have a Chelsea bun that has gone stale, that would be the equivalent of a miracle in our house! Then put it into the microwave for a couple of seconds, it rejuvenates the whole bun in an instant. Another way to enjoy them is buttered, an even spread of creamy Anchor butter. Mmmm There is no reason at all why you couldn't have them as a pudding with some custard poured over them, but lol go easy I am sure that you wouldn't want a whole bun each if you served it with custard. Call me old fashioned, But Chelsea buns are lovely. I have even been fortunate enough to buy some in our local bakers that have had dates or cherry pieces added to them. These buns must be lethal in terms of calories and I wouldn't even take a guess at how many calories are in one!
Chelsea, London has been famous for its Buns since the Eighteenth century. Originally made in the 'Old Original Chelsey Bunn House' in Jew's Row. It was customary in the early days for members of the Royal Family and upper classes to visit the Bunn House in the morning to enjoy coffee and Chelsea buns. The bun is made of a rich yeast dough flavoured with lemon peel, cinnamon or a sweet spice mixture. Prior to being rolled into a square spiral shape the dough is spread with a mixture of currants, brown sugar and butter. A sweet glaze covering is added before the rolled-up dough is sliced into individual buns and baked. The process of making this bun is very similar to that involved in producing the cinnamon roll.