Chelsea Bun Christmas Tree

This Chelsea nun Christmas tree recipe by Paul Hollywood is featured in the Season 3 Masterclass: Christmas episode of the Great British Baking Show.

Yield: 15 servings

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Ingredients

  • 800g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 15g sachet fast-acting yeast
  • 400ml milk
  • 60g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • For the filling
  • 411g jar mincemeat
  • 1 apple, finely diced
  • 1 pear, finely diced
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 75g pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 100g candied peel
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 25g unsalted butter, melted
  • To finish
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 15 glace cherries
  • 40g candied peel
  • 25g pistachio nibs

Directions

  1. Place the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other side.
  2. Warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the butter is melted and the mixture is lukewarm. Pour into the flour mixture, add the eggs and stir thoroughly until the contents of the bowl come together as a soft dough. The dough will be sticky.
  3. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead well for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Alternatively this can be done in a stand mixer using a dough hook.
  4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and leave to rise, covered with a damp tea towel, for one hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Mix the mincemeat with the diced apple, pear, orange zest, candied peel, pistachio nuts and cinnamon.
  6. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out dough into a rectangle about 20in x 14in.
  7. Tack down the long side of the dough rectangle nearest to you by pressing it down onto the work surface with your thumb.
  8. Brush all over with the melted butter. Then spread the mincemeat mixture over the dough leaving a 2cm boarder.
  9. Roll the opposite long side of the dough towards you quite tightly, until the roll is complete and tight. Trim the ends to neaten. With a sharp knife cut into 15 thick rounds - about 1.5in.
  10. Line a very large baking tray or use the grill tray from your oven with baking parchment.
  11. Arrange rolls on the prepared tray, cut side up, in Christmas tree shape: 1 on top, 2 underneath, 3 in the third row, 4 in the fourth row, 5 in the fifth row, 5 and use some of the trimmings to make a trunk. You want them to be close enough so that when they rise further and then bake; they will bake with their sides touching. They can then be pulled apart and you get a lovely soft edge.
  12. Cover loosely and let rise for 30 - 45 minutes.
  13. Preheat oven to 350F. When the buns are ready, put them in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden-brown. Check after 15 minutes or so and cover the buns with foil if they are getting too brown.
  14. Remove the buns from the oven and let them cool slightly before transferring them from the tin to a cooling rack.
  15. Melt the jam in a small saucepan with a splash of water until smooth. Brush the jam over the buns to glaze and allow to cool.
  16. Mix together the icing sugar, orange zest and 2 tablespoons of water. Place in a piping bag and pipe on the tree for garlands. Garnish with glace cherries, candied peel and chopped pistachio nibs.

Tips/Techniques

Note: This recipe contains U.K. measurements and may require conversions to U.S. measurements. It has also not been professionally tested.
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