In all the years I've lived in the Cambridge area until recently I had never eaten a legendary Fitzbillie's Chelsea Bun. These sticky fruit buns were created and first eaten at The Bun House in Chelsea in the eighteenth century but they have become synonymous with Fitzbillies restaurant in Cambridge. So in the interest of crossing another sixty by sixty off my list I thought it was about time I tried one.
Maybe it was because I kept hearing how amazing they are but on trying the real thing I was actually just a little bit disappointed. Now don't get me wrong, it was good, but not as good as I thought they would be. They were just a bit too dry despite the sticky topping (I wondered as it was a Sunday if they were possibly a day old?) and there wasn't enough spicy flavour for my taste.
So given that on the Great British Bake Off last week (despite my growing disappointment with the show I can't resist watching) the contestants were asked to make Chelsea buns I couldn't resist the challenge.
I brought out my trusty mixer to knead up some dough and decided to go with an almond and cherry theme, soaking dried and glace cherries in some Cointreau with a few drops of almond essence. I would have preferred Amaretto for extra almond flavour but I didn't have any!
When the dough had risen it was knocked back and rolled out before spreading it with melted butter, a mix of ground almonds and sugar as well as the drained fruit.
It then was rolled up like a Swiss roll and then allowed to rise again.
The recipe that I was using as a guide suggested making a sticky glaze that was added just before baking but I think I would add a glaze after the buns are cooked if I made them again. I also think I would find a bigger tin because my buns were starting to make a bid for freedom!
But despite being rather misshapen and a little too crisp on top, they were very soft and pillowy inside with a good almond and cherry flavour. Definitely worth making again to perfect the recipe!
And although it feels like sacrilege to say so.. I preferred them to the Fitzbillies buns!
Only two more 60 x 60 things to go before I start my 100 challenge!