Spiced elderberry buns

With the fresh air, birdsong and warm sunlight falling through dappled leaves, summer is the best season to find natural sustenance in the great outdoors. Nature writer and illustrator from the South Downs in Hampshire, Tiffany Francis-Baker shares her delicious spiced elderberry buns recipe with us this month. Elderberries can be foraged from August through to October – so let the foraging begin! 


  1. Sift the flour, salt and yeast together in a bowl and make a well in the middle using a spoon. In a saucepan, heat the salted butter until it has melted and add to the flour mixture, as well as the milk and egg. Using your hands, stir the whole mixture together until it forms a soft dough; you may need to add a little flour or milk depending on the consistency. Sprinkle a little flour onto a clean surface and spread out to create a non-stick area, then tip your dough mixture out. Knead the dough for five to ten minutes (depending on arm strength – it takes me ages) until the consistency is smooth and elasticated, but no longer sticky. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a tea towel, then set aside at room temperature for an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, pour the elderberries into a preserving pan with a little water and simmer until the berries have softened to a juicy mush. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and mixed spice and stir well. In a separate pan, heat the unsalted butter until it has melted and leave aside.
  3. Once the dough has risen to twice its size, lightly flour a surface and tip the dough out. Roll out into a rough rectangle around ½ cm thick and brush the exposed surface lightly with the melted butter. Then tip the elderberry mixture onto the surface and spread out evenly across the rectangle. Carefully roll the rectangle into a sausage so that the elderberry mix forms a spiral through the middle and, once secured, slice the sausage into 4 cm slices.
  4. Place each slice on its side onto a greased baking tray and cover them all with a tea towel. Preheat the oven to 190°C and leave the slices to rise for 30 minutes. When risen, bake the slices for 20 minutes until they are golden brown and transformed into swirly buns, and leave to cool.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the icing sugar and lemon juice to form glacé icing, and drizzle over every bun until well coated. 


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Filling Ingredients

  • 200g fresh elderberries
  • 75g demerara sugar
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice


Dough Ingredients

  • 500g strong white flour
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 50g salted butter
  • 1 medium egg


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