These incredibly more-ish traditional saffron buns from Cornwall are delicious served hot out of the oven with your afternoon cuppa.
- 500g (1lb) strong plain flour
- ½ level tsp salt
- 1 large pinch, saffron strands
- 60g (2oz) butter
- 60g (2oz) lard
- 90g (3oz) caster sugar
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 200g (7oz) currants
- 1 large egg
- 100ml (3½fl oz) milk, lukewarm
- Large baking sheet, buttered
Place the strands of saffron in a small ovenproof dish and put in a warm oven set to a low heat for a few minutes to dry them out. The oven temperature isn’t important, just take care not to leave the saffron in the oven for too long or it will burn. Remove the saffron from the oven, leave it to cool slightly, then use your fingers to crumble it up. Pour over 4tbsp boiling water and leave to infuse for about 10 mins.
Tip the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and lard, and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, dried yeast, and currants.
Lightly beat the egg into the milk, then pour into the flour mixture, along with the saffron and its liquid. Stir to bind the ingredients together, then turn the mixture out on to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5-10 mins until it’s elastic and stretchy.
Divide the dough into 12 and shape each into a ball, then place them on the buttered baking sheet, flattening them slightly. Cover the buns with a sheet of oiled cling film, and leave them in a warm place until they have doubled in size
Set the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7.
Bake the buns, towards the top of the oven, for about 15 mins, until they are a light golden colour, and they sound hollow when tapped underneath. Remove the buns from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
Serve the buns warm or cold, split and filled with clotted cream.
Woman's Weekly cookery editor Sue McMahon says you can pack the buns into a suitable container and freeze for up to 1 month. The buns can be 'refreshed' by reheating them in a hot oven for a few minutes before serving them