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Saffron Chelsea Buns with Cardamom, Apricot and Orange Nota per lettori italiani/e: troverete una versione italiana della ricetta qui.

I was delighted that Anna and Ornella, the lovely organisers of Quanti Modi di Fare e Rifare decided to use my Three Kinds of Saffron Bread for their baking challenge this month.

Although I was only too happy to revisit the rich and colourful world of saffron bread, I did not want to repeat myself and so I decided on another two variations on the theme.

In the Saffron Chelsea Buns with Cardamom, Apricot and Orange, shown above, the fragrant and vibrantly coloured dough is complemented by a dash of colour from the intensely fruity filling. These are much richer than the average Chelsea Bun and are delicious on their own, but I must admit I can’t resist slathering them in butter.

There was a bit of dough left over from these so I tried out a new technique for making knotted rolls, and was very pleased with the results.

Saffron Chelsea Buns with Cardamom, Apricot and Orange

Saffron Chelsea Buns with Cardamom, Apricot and OrangeMakes 9 Chelsea Buns and 3 other rolls

For the Filling

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds (removed from their green pods)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla salt flakes or a generous pinch of sea salt
  • 1 orange, grated zest and juice
  • 150g ready to eat apricots
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g chopped candied orange peel

For the Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • A 25cm square deep baking tin

Make the dough from Three Kinds of Saffron Bread, omitting the currants. Leave to rise until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, start preparing the filling. Dice the apricots and put into a bowl with the orange juice and stir well. Leave to soak for an hour or so, stirring every so often.

Grind the cardamom seeds finely with the (vanilla) salt. Melt the butter and stir in the cardamom, caster sugar and orange zest. Leave to cool.

Butter the baking tin and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment.

Once the dough has roughly doubled in size, turn it out onto the work surface and knead or fold a little to distribute the gas bubbles.

Cut off one quarter (approximately 270g). You could use this to make three rolls, maybe the knotted ones shown below.

Roll the remaining dough into an oblong roughly 30x40cm with the short edge nearest to you.

Spread the butter mixture as evenly as you can over the dough, leaving a 1cm border top and bottom, but getting as close as you can to the sides.

Drain the apricots well and scatter them over the dough, followed by the chopped candied orange peel.

Starting from the short edge nearest to you, carefully roll the dough into a sausage, lifting it slightly as you go so that the filling is enclosed rather than being driven before the developing roll.

With the seam underneath, cut into 9 pieces and place cut side up in the tin. Cover and leave to rise until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180C (adjust for fan oven). Just before baking, sprinkle lightly with caster sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, checking them regularly and turning the tray half way through to ensure even browning.

As soon as they come out of the oven, heat the milk and sugar to boiling point in a small saucepan, and brush the buns twice with this glaze.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes then carefully remove the tin and baking parchment and cool on a wire rack.

Knotted Buns

Saffron Knotted RollsThis dough has an excellent texture for knotting and braiding, and I made the remaining quarter of the dough into three knotted rolls, using a method described in “Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes” by Jeffrey Hamelman. I intend to blog about braiding and knotting in the future, but for now, if you want to make these rolls you will have to buy the book. You will not regret it, especially if you are a moderately experienced bread maker. But in any case, it will inspire you to greater things. At the time of writing the book is available on Amazon at the incredibly low price of £8.40. It is drier and more technical than my favourite bread baking book, Richard Bertinet’s Dough, but it is full of great recipes and invaluable advice. Hamelman is now my joint top bread making guru alongside Monsieur Bertinet.

A similar method for making knotted rolls will be found on Fine Cooking I had been very pleased with this method (see an example below) but the Hamelman method results in rolls with that little bit more charm, with a sweet little top-knot.Knotted Rolls


You could save time by using ready ground cardamom, but this might have less flavour. My local Asian supermarket sells bags of cardamom seeds already removed from their green pods, which makes like a lot easier. Grinding them in a pestle and mortar is quite hard work, although adding a little salt or sugar helps, so I use the coffee grinder attachment of my food processor (which, as it happens, I never use to grind coffee, only spices and nuts).

A big thank you to Anna and Ornella of Quanti Modi di Fare e Rifare for choosing my Saffron Bread post as the basis of their challenge for this month, and also to Marika of La Stufa Economica for asking me to enter her contest Spezie ed Herbe Aromatiche.


Cinnamon Bun Cake - Recipe adapted from Scandilicious Baking by Signe JohansenThe 4th of October was National Cinnamon Bun day in Sweden. So here is the “Cinnamon Bun-Cake” I made as a tribute to a nation that is mad enough – and great enough – to celebrate a bun in that way. Definitely a people after my own heart! The recipe came from Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen.

A bit like Chelsea Buns aren’t they?