Guest chef

Sarah Randell

Our very own food director, and former food editor to Delia Smith, Sarah has written more than 1000 recipes for the magazine. She is also author of the delightful baking book, Family Baking and Marmalade; A Bittersweet Cookbook.

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Sticky mincemeat bun wreath

  • Makes 13 buns
  • Prep 1 hr
  • Total time 1 hr 30 mins, plus rising
3.5/5 rating (6 votes)
Sticky mincemeat bun wreath
Sticky mincemeat bun wreath

step by step

  • 1Over a low heat, heat the milk in a small pan with the butter until melted; tip it into a bowl to cool slightly.
  • 2Tip the flour into the bowl of a food mixer with the sugar, yeast and two generous pinches of salt, then mix. Lightly beat the egg in a cup. Pour the lukewarm buttery milk (you should be able to hold your little finger in the milk with no discomfort) into the flour and add the beaten egg. Mix to combine, scraping down the sides as necessary, until a dough is formed. Then knead the dough for 5 minutes with a dough hook in the mixer, on a low speed. Or, mix the ingredients in a bowl by hand, making a well in the centre of the flour to pour the egg and buttery milk into, mix and then bring the dough together with your hands before kneading it for 10 minutes on a lightly floured work surface.
  • A tear-and-share wreath that will be popular with children and adults alike. If you want to make the buns but not in a wreath shape, just bake them individually for the same amount of time.
  • 3Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave it to rise in a warm area (away from draughts) for 1 hour or until it has more or less doubled in size. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together for the butter, and roughly chop the pecans; set aside.
  • 4Tip the risen dough out onto the work surface, punch it with your fist to knock out the air, then knead it briefly for a minute or so before rolling it out to a 20cm x 35cm rectangle. Dot the sugary butter all over the dough before spreading it out, then spread the mincemeat on top of this. Evenly sprinkle the chopped pecans and cranberries on top.
  • 5Now, roll up the dough, starting from one of the longer sides. Trim the ends and slice the roll into 13 rounds, each about 2cm-2.5cm. If you have any dough left over, you can bake a bun separately from the wreath – a cook's perk!
  • 6Arrange the buns on a very large baking tray, lined with a nonstick cooking liner or baking paper. Arrange them, cut side up and just touching, in a circle on the liner. Cover them loosely with clingfilm and leave them to rise again in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5.
  • 7Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add the lemon juice, mixing all the time until you have an icing you can drizzle – you may not need all the juice.
  • 8Once baked, brush the buns with the buttery juices that will have escaped onto the tray during cooking, then leave them to cool for 10 minutes or so. Carefully transfer the wreath to a board – use a fish slice first to loosen the buns from the tray. Cool the buns until just warm, then drizzle them with the icing. Scatter with extra chopped dried cranberries. Eat the buns warm or cold.
  • Recipe photograph by Ant Duncan

Get ahead

The wreath (or individual buns) will keep well for up to 2 days stored in a large airtight container. The baked buns also freeze well, wrapped in clingfilm.

You will need

  • 150ml milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 300g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • oil, for oiling the bowl
  • 75g pecan halves
  • 250g mincemeat
  • 50g dried cranberries, plus extra to sprinkle

For the butter

  • 50g very soft unsalted butter
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • 50g demerara sugar

For the lemon icing

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice

+ Nutritional Information