Cornish saffron buns

These incredibly more-ish traditional saffron buns from Cornwall are delicious served hot out of the oven with your afternoon cuppa.
Serves: 12


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. Set the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7.
  6. 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.
  7. Serve the buns warm or cold, split and filled with clotted cream.

Note: Calorie and fat values are for the maximum number of servings stated.Compiled by Sue McMahon, assisted by Iris Harvey. Photos: Props stylist: Sue Radcliffe

Nutritional information per portion

fat 7.0g saturates 3.0g calories 27(kcal)

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.