Often referred to simply as ‘bun’, this loaf is traditionally sliced and served with cheese (usually an orange cheese, such as Red Leicester.) Jamaican bun is eaten all year round. However, this slightly more sweeter, more indulgent version is more traditionally served at Easter when Jamaicans were fasting from meat and fish. It is quite similar in taste to a hot cross bun, only with a stronger clove flavour and more variety of fruit. It is glazed with marmalade, and I find this really helps balance the heavily spiced loaf.
I had never even heard of bun, let alone tasted it, until quite recently. My fiancé, Manasseh, would always talk about bun, and how good it was with cheese. He likened it to a toasted tea cake and insisted I tried eating a teacake with cheese (it being the next best thing to real bun). My reaction had always been to say “yuck!” at the contemplation of cheese with a fruit teacake, but it wasn’t that bad. In fact, I was intrigued! We looked around to try and find the real thing but, unfortunately, we had difficulty finding it in Manchester city centre so the only thing left to do was have a go myself!
I scouted the internet for a few recipes and, with a lot of help from my
fiancé, I came up with this recipe. Manasseh says that the commercial stuff is a bit more airy; however, my recipe (so I am told) is more like the real, homemade stuff… I’ll take his word on it. As for eating it with cheese: well, like me, you might be unsure on the idea but you should definitely give it a go. It tastes so good together. I recently found out that some people eat their Christmas cake with cheese, and I imagine it is the same thing (only Christmas cake tends to be less spicy than this bun). Give it a go!
- 260 g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon ground
- 1 tsp clove ground
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg freshly grated
- 1 tsp cardamom ground
- 175 g mixed fruit
- 1 orange zest and juice
- 1 egg large
- 120 ml stout
- 45 g butter softened
- 2 tbsp mollases (optional)
- 100 g dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp apricot jam (to glaze)
- Preheat the oven to 275°C and line a 2 lb. loaf tin with baking parchment.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and baking powder before adding the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom.
- Next, add the mixed fruit and coat liberally with the dry ingredients. By coating the fruit in the spiced flour mix, you will help prevent the fruit from sinking in the finished loaf.
- In another bowl (or a jug, if you prefer), add the zest and juice of an orange together with the egg and stout.
- Melt the butter in a pan, and add the sugar and mollases. Once the butter is melted, leave to cool before adding to the wet ingredients.
- Beat the wet ingredients to combine before adding to the dry mix and stirring to combine.
- Pour the mix into the prepared loaf tin, and bake on the middle shelf for an hour, reducing the temperate to 150ºC after 30 minutes. Remove from the oven once the bun is fully cooked and a skewer placed in the centre of the bun comes out clean.
- Leave the bun to cool on a wire rack.
- Heat the apricot jam to help it loosen before glazing the top of the cooled bun liberally.
- Serve with cheese, or on its own with a chilled glass of stout or plum porter.