Sunday, January 31, 2016

Enjoying Downton with a Chelsea Bun or Two

I LOVE Downton Abbey. (I want Lady Mary's entire outfit pronto.  I am confident I could pull it off.)
Retrieved from

Since we will get to the Downton talk later, let's focus on another love... my love of cinnamon rolls.  Before you go any further though, check out those shoes!  How about that coat?!!  I am dying over the red dress.  Oh my.  Focus!

I do love a good cinnamon roll but don't fall for just any roll.  I can easily resist those things out of a can.  I have a will of iron and steel when it comes to those covered in a five inch layer of cream cheese frosting. Bleh. I never consume the poor excuse, pre-baked, cellophane-wrapped jobs on the shelves at the mini-mart.  As I mentioned before, I love a GOOD cinnamon roll.  If it is homemade, from scratch, with the right ratio of roll to filling to topping, well... I find it really hard to resist that yeasty, sweet treat. 

With the weather turning a little colder and rainier, I decided cinnamon rolls were in order this weekend.  Knowing I needed to bake for Downton, I wanted to save myself from having a stockpile of sweet treats lying about the house.  I quickly set out to investigate if the British have a cinnamon roll in their repertoire.  Guess what... they do!

Tonight's accompaniment to Downton Abbey is the Chelsea Bun.

Chelsea Buns are a warm, sticky roll filled with cinnamon sugar and dried fruits, topped with a delicious icing.  As I completed my research, I could almost taste the final product as I perused the ingredients.  Below, you will find how I completed my version of the Chelsea Bun.

Dough Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • vegetable oil to grease the rising bowl

Filling Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped

Topping Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • water
  • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • zest of 1 orange (optional)
Sift the flour and salt together in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add the package of yeast.

Warm the milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter is melted.  Do not allow the milk to come to a boil.  Slowly pour into the flour mixture.  Add the egg and stir the mixture together until the dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes.  Dough should become smooth and elastic.

Oil a large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in center.  Cover with plastic wrap and place into a warm, draft-free area for an 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough doubles in size.

Once dough has risen, remove the plastic wrap (WARNING: The scent is intoxicating!) and turn onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into a 12" x 8" rectangle.  Butter a 9"x13" baking dish and set aside.

If the dried fruit has not yet been chopped, place into a food processor and pulse until small chunks have formed.  In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, and chopped dried fruit.

Brush the dough with the melted butter and evenly sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, fruit mixture.

Begin tightly rolling the dough from the long side furthest from you, to form a log. 

Cut 1 3/4" rolls from the log.  There should be about 10 rolls.  I cut them a little larger so I ended up with nine. Place the rolls into the buttered dish, about 1/2" apart.  Cover, set in a warm place, and let rise for another 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove plastic wrap and place into a preheated 375 degrees Fahrenheit oven. 

Bake buns for 20 to 25 minutes.  While they bake, find something productive to do.  The scent of these treats as they bake is just too much.  There were several moments I thought I would just open the door and pinch off a piece.  Soo incredible. 

Once golden brown, remove from oven.  In a small bowl, mix jam and a little water. Place in microwave approximately 10 seconds and stir until smooth. Brush the glaze over the buns.  Allow to cool on a baking rack.  Don't they look stunning?  They smell divine.

Once buns have cooled, transfer to a serving plate.  Mix the powdered sugar, orange zest (if using) and two tablespoons water or milk.  Drizzle over cooled buns and allow to set before serving.

What a gorgeous sight!

Speaking of gorgeous sights... I was thrilled to see Gwen again. 
Retrieved from

While she was only in the house a short time, I did get choked up when she spoke of Lady Sybil helping her get the secretary job in the city.  I also agonized over Thomas outing her to the family over the meal.  What a putz!  He really IS his own worst enemy.  It is almost like he is that child who needs attention and doesn't care if it is positive or negative... so long as he gets others to notice him.

I must admit Robert looked like a royal pain when he celebrated the fact that Mrs. Carson would continue to be known as Mrs. Hughes in the house.  If she wants to keep her name, I am all for that but his reaction was a little too joyful for my liking.  Maybe I am just too sensitive about such things.  I did get teary when Mr. Carson checked his empty room.  He lived there for soo long.  Even though he is happily moving forward in his life, there was still sadness at that ending.

Mr. Carson wasn't the only one to choke me up, I was soo excited for Mr. Bates to figure out what was going on with Anna.  Do you think everything will work out?  We can only hope.

Well, tonight's episode has loaded onto my DVR and I am just waiting for the littles to head to bed.  Time to prep my cup of Spiced Pear tea from the Tea Cozy and enjoy my first Chelsea Bun
Good Downton Night to you!

No comments: