Simnel swirl buns for Easter

These sweet buns from John Whaite, the winner of the third series of Great British Bake Off, marry two Easter favourites, hot cross buns and the classic simnel cake.

Makes 12


For the dough

500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting

5g salt

10g caster sugar

7g fast-action yeast

150ml tepid water

120ml milk

1 large egg

40g Stork with Butter

Flavourless oil, for greasing

For the filling

75g Stork with Butter

75g dark brown muscovado sugar

1tsp mixed spices

75g marzipan, cut into small chunks

100g dried mixed fruit

50g almonds, roughly chopped

For the glaze

4tbsp apricot jam

1tbsp water

Zest of 1 lemon, to finish


1. To make the dough, place the flour in a bowl and stir in the salt and sugar. Add the yeast and stir it through the flour. Add the water, milk and egg and mix well with a wooden spoon or your hands until you have scraggy dough. Squeeze in the Stork with Butter then knead until the mixture is smooth and elastic; about 10 minutes. This is much quicker to make in a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and allow to rise until doubled in size; usually an hour but could be more if your kitchen is cool.

2. While the dough rises make the filling. Cream together the Stork with butter, sugar and spice until paste-like.

3. Once the dough has risen, flour the worktop and roll the dough out into a square of about 45cm/18-inch. Spread the filling all over the dough then scatter the marzipan, fruit and nuts onto the filling. Roll up into a tight spiral, trim off the messy ends, and then cut the roll into 12 equal-ish slices*. Place these, spiral sides up, into a medium sized roasting dish or muffin tin and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.

4. For the glaze, simply boil together the apricot jam and water for one minute.

5. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas mark 8. Bake the buns for 15 minutes or until risen and golden. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, paint over the apricot jam and allow to cool in the tin.

*Top Tip: If you have unflavoured dental floss, you can slice the dough into portions without damaging the shape of the buns. Simply slide a length of dental floss underneath the spiralled dough, cross it over the top where you want to cut, and pull it tight to slice. Repeat for all 12 portions of dough.

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