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Paddington BunsI was going to make Chelsea buns. I had three very good reasons. In the first place, I never tried one while I was living in England, and have felt the need to make up for it ever since.

Overhead of Paddington BunsSecondly, they seemed like a perfect match for the Tea Time Treats challenge, brought to us by Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked. This month’s challenge is bread, hosted by What Kate Baked.

Tea Time Treats MosaicAnd, most importantly of all, I needed to find a good bun recipe for the “Reading and Refreshments” feature on my other blog. You see, outside of the kitchen, I have another life as a novelist (one which involves piles of manuscripts marked with red pen, far too many notebooks, and a lot of hours spent pounding on the keyboard), but that really doesn’t belong on this blog.

The only thing you need to know is that this month the book being featured on “Reading and Refreshments” was A Bear Called Paddington. And since Paddington is so fond of buns, it seemed fitting that I should choose them as the refreshment.

Prep for Paddington bunsI was all set. I had the ingredients and measuring cups laid out, and a cookbook opened to a Chelsea bun recipe on the counter. But then I started thinking.

Sprinkling on the sugarIf you have ever read or heard anything about Paddington, you know that marmalade is his favorite food. And it just so happened that I had a jar of orange marmalade in my cupboard. It would be a nice touch, I thought, to make a bun with a marmalade filling.

Adding the marmaladeAnd suppose that, instead of the milk-and-sugar glaze that the recipe called for, I brushed the hot buns with honey, since that was Paddington’s special Sunday morning treat?

Dough ready for rollingI was enthusiastically relating these planned changes to my mother, when she said, wistfully: “This recipe has eggs in it, doesn’t it?” (My mother is allergic to eggs, which is why you’ll frequently find eggless recipes featured here.)

And I said, “Well, yes, but . . . ”

Slicing the bunsSo, with one thing and another, I ended up not making the Chelsea buns at all, but something quite different. My final result was coils of tender, cinnamony dough wrapped around a deliciously sticky filling of marmalade, currants, and brown sugar. I spaced the buns fairly far apart on the baking sheet, so that they wouldn’t touch each other too much, but bake up deliciously crisp and golden round the edges. A light coating of honey finished them off with a beautiful sheen.

Tray of BunsAlthough these buns certainly still have elements of a Chelsea bun, I thought they were distinctive enough to deserve their own name. Paddington Buns, of course. I’m sure he would love them. I know I did.

Overhead of Paddington BunsAnd as for the Chelsea buns? Well, I guess that day when I finally get to try one will just have to keep waiting.

The RewardPaddington Buns

Dedicated to Paddington Bear, inspired by the Chelsea bun, in honor of Tea Time Treats

Ingredients:

For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small dice
½ cup whole milk, heated to lukewarm
1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
1 tablespoon golden syrup
 
For the filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup orange marmalade
½ cup dried currants
 
To glaze:
3 tablespoons honey
 

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles moist sand.
  2. Mix the yeast into the warmed milk, and let stand for a few minutes until small bubbles rise to the surface.
  3. Add the yeast-milk mixture and the golden syrup to the bowl, and stir to form a stiff dough.
  4. Knead the dough in the bowl for a few minutes until it is smooth. Cover and set aside to rise until almost doubled, about 3 hours.
  5. Butter a baking sheet.
  6. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it briefly. Roll out into an 8” x 12” rectangle.
  7. Brush the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar.
  8. Use a small offset spatula to spread the marmalade over the sugar, and then strew the currants uniformly across the rectangle of dough.
  9. Starting at one of the long sides, roll up the dough to form a tight log. Pinch the seam to seal.
  10. Trim off the ends of the log. Using a sharp serrated knife with a gentle sawing motion, cut the log into ¾-inch-thick rounds.
  11. Lay the slices on the buttered baking sheet, spacing 1 ½ inches apart.
  12. Cover and let rise again for an hour.
  13. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  14. Bake the buns until the tops are golden, 16 to 18 minutes.
  15. Remove pan from the oven. Microwave the 3 tablespoons of honey for 30 seconds or so, until it is very thin and loose.
  16. Brush the hot honey over the warm buns with a pastry brush. Remove buns to a wire rack.
  17. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 1 dozen buns

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