Five-Fruit Chelsea Buns: #25 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

I’ve packed 5 kinds of fruit into this British variation of cinnamon rolls. Rolled up into the dough are raisins, cranberries, orange zest, and chopped up dates, then on top is an apricot icing. These Chelsea buns make my mouth water and my heart melt. Not to mention that the kitchen smells amazing as they’re baking!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($12 total)

1 tbsp dry active yeast – $0.50
⅓ cup hot water – free
1 tsp sugar – $0.02
1 cup milk – $0.37
1 egg – $0.29
3 tbsp butter, melted – $0.47
4 cups flour – $0.64
1 tsp salt – $0.05
2 tbsp butter, melted – $0.31
½ cup brown sugar – $0.52
2 tsp cinnamon – $0.12
1 tsp orange zest or extract – $0.05
1 cup raisins – $1.00
½ cup cranberries – $0.50
1½ cup dates or apricots, chopped – $4.99
3 tbsp apricot jam – $0.48
2 cups icing sugar – $1.76


1. In a small bowl, mix the yeast, hottest water from the tap, and 1 tsp sugar. Stir to dissolve and let it sit and foam up for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and 3 tbsp melted butter.

Add the yeast mixture, flour, and salt to the egg and milk mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together.

2. Use freshly washed hands to knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is very sticky, add a tiny bit more flour, but not too much to dry it out. Cover the dough ball in a bowl and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour. I like to put the oven on the “Warm and Hold” setting while I’m kneading the dough, then turning it off when I put the dough in.

Once the dough has risen, turn it onto a lightly floured board and roll it out to about 8×12 inches, then brush with 2 tbsp melted butter. Pro tip: put a tea towel under the board and it won’t slide around on the counter as you’re rolling the dough.

Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, raisins, cranberries, and dates together in a small bowl, then spread evenly over the dough, leaving a small strip without fruit on the side closest to you, to allow the roll to seal nicely.

3. Roll the dough towards you into a tight spiral with the fruit wrapped up inside, then cut into 11 or 12 pieces about 2 inches thick, and place on a parchment-lined baking tray.

Let the buns rise in a warm place for 30 minutes to puff up, then bake for 20-25 minutes at 375F or until they start to turn golden.

Warm up the apricot jam, then stir in the icing sugar to make a thick glaze. Spread over each bun and allow to set and cool. Eat warm or at room temperature, or freeze for longer term enjoyment!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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