Recipe: Nan’s Raspberry Buns

Posted in Recipes, Sweets
Nan's Raspberry Buns - Imperfect but full of love |

Made here with Blackcurrant Jam, this is a recipe my wonderful Nan used to make. The charm of these Raspberry Buns lies in them being imperfect, accommodating of any flavour jam and always being made with love.

My Nan wasn’t a wonderful cook or baker but she was a woman that loved the people around her with a fierceness I’ve never seen before. Utterly devoted to her grandchildren, she’d often spend time in the kitchen baking with us. She didn’t bat an eyelid when, as a child, I stuck my finger into the freshly set raspberry jelly she had in the fridge. Nor was she in the slightest bit bothered that I broke her 41 year old Pyrex that we’d just baked bread on, by putting it into cold water straight from the oven. She taught me how to make a Victoria Sponge (4, 4, 4 and 2), that you could just slice apples thinly on top, bake it and add custard to make a lovely dessert and that pastry wasn’t something to be afraid of. She loved food, loved trying new things and was more than happy to let me have free rein over her kitchen.

Nan's Raspberry Buns - A recipe that always makes me happy |

In later life, she’d often make a batch of these Raspberry Buns to welcome us into her home, taking great joy in the fact I’d devour them rapidly. It didn’t matter the flavour jam that got used, they were always called Nan’s Raspberry Buns. It’s with that context that I’m so happy to share this recipe with you today.

Process shots of making Nan's Raspberry Buns |

Whether you make these in England or Germany, you’ll get something that’s utterly addictive when just warm from the oven. Lightly crisp on the outside, airy and light on the inside too. A barely sweet bun that matches brilliantly with whatever jam you happen to have in your cupboard. Just make sure they all get eaten on the day of baking, or pop them back in the oven to warm them through the day after.

Nan's Raspberry Buns - Filled with Blackcurrant Jam before baking |

As the person that’s trying to encourage you to make this recipe, I should be showing you the ‘perfect’ Raspberry Bun. But I’m not. What I’m doing is showing you something that’s flexible and wonderful in being imperfect. I’ve made this recipe many many times over the years, both in England and in Germany. There’s never been a batch I didn’t enjoy eating.

Variations and Differences

Nan's Raspberry Buns - As made in England with Raspberry Jam |

Pictured above is the version I made in June 2014, back in my English kitchen.

  • In England, just as my Nan did, I’d make this recipe with margarine (Bertolli, usually). This means a lighter coloured bun dough with a softer raw consistency than when made with butter. Butter isn’t ‘wet’ like margarine is – it doesn’t spread like margarine does either, it keeps baked goods firmer and will set harder – making it better for things like cookies.
  • In Germany, I’ve made this recipe with Kerrygold Irish butter. That accounts for the very yellow colour and firmness of the bun dough. Margarine just isn’t sold here in the same way it is in the UK, so it’s easier to use butter. It gives a brighter colour and a butterier flavour to the bun.
  • Use whichever fat you prefer – whether it’s for cost reasons, flavour reasons or just because it’s what you have in the fridge. Food secret sharing time: I actually prefer margarine to butter as it’s easier to work with and I like the texture it gives me.
  • In England, this recipe gets made with McDougalls Self Raising Flour. Compared with German flour, it’s got a coarser texture. English Self Raising flour tends to generates a robust rise in baked goods.
  • In Germany I’m using Type 405 flour. This is a very finely milled, soft, plain flour that’s a very light colour and delicate to the touch. It readily takes on the butter or egg yolk yellow in baked goods and needs additional raising agents to be added. I used three level teaspoons of Baking Powder with 225g of flour in this recipe as per manufacturers instructions. However the final rise isn’t as strong as in the English buns.
  • Use whichever flour you like – Self Raising is my recommendation but Plain with Baking Powder added as per manufacturers directions works too.
  • The English version uses Hartley’s Best Jam in Seedless Raspberry – It’s a thickly set jam, which doesn’t produce much spread when in the oven.
  • The German version uses Mövenpick Blackcurrant Jam – This is a very softly set jam which is already quite runny in the jar, which is why you see such large spread patterns on the buns themselves.
  • A thickly set jam will not spread as far and produces a more uniform looking bun. A runnier conserve will spread out! Just use your favourite kind of jam. It’s not always about Instagram worthy cakes. 

Nan's Raspberry Buns - As made in Germany with Blackcurrant Jam |

Cooking and baking can be such a personal thing, often steeped in hard and fast rules. Now I’ve talked you through the differences your ingredients can make to this bake – I’m hoping you’ll see that it doesn’t matter what you’ve got in your cupboard, just use the closest thing you have on hand and go for it. Make yourself smile today by munching on a still warm Nan’s perfectly imperfect Raspberry Bun.

Nan's Raspberry Buns - Imperfect but full of love |
Nan's Raspberry Buns

Perfectly imperfect, this recipe produces a lightly sweet treat that makes use of your favourite jam. Best served still warm from the oven.

Course: Sweet Treat
Servings: 10
  • 8 oz Self Raising Flour (225g)
  • 3 oz Margarine or Butter (85g)
  • 3 oz Caster Sugar (85g)
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 10 tsp Jam
  1. Pre-heat a fan assisted oven to 170 C (340 F) or standard oven to 190 C (375 F). 

  2. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.

  3. Mix the flour and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the margarine or butter to the flour in chunks. Gently toss to coat. Then, as though making pastry, lightly and briskly rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips.

  4. Beat the egg together with the splash of milk.

  5. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour the liquid in. Using a rounded knife, cut the dry ingredients into the wet and gently bring the dough together. 

    Tip: If it's too sticky to handle, sprinkle over a little more flour.

  6. Divide the dough into ten even pieces. Lightly roll each one in the palms of your hands into a ball and place on the lined baking sheet, spaced well apart. 

    Tip: Weigh the dough and divide that amount by ten. Then weigh each piece out as required.

  7. Using either fingers or a tool, make a nice deep indent into the centre of each dough ball. Fill each with a teaspoon of jam. 

    Tip: I used a tsp sized measuring spoon to press the indent. A small pestle is ideal for this. Dip the tool into a little flour to prevent the dough sticking.

  8. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until the buns have risen and are turning golden.

  9. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Be careful - molten jam is screamingly hot.

  10. Best served on the day of baking. Enjoy whilst still warm from the oven. If there are any left the following day, gently warm through in the oven to refresh prior to serving.

17th March, 2017
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  • Reply LauraDaisyChain

    I love posts like this! My Nan taught me how to bake and I still use her favourite recipes today. These look good!

    17th March, 2017 at 5:59 pm
    • Reply Eat Explore Etc

      Thanks so much! I only lost her last year so it’s felt quite important to me to keep these sorts of memories and recipes alive, so your comment earns extra love from me! 🙂 x

      17th March, 2017 at 6:17 pm
  • Reply Christie Dietz (@asausagehastwo)

    They look totally perfect to me, just as they should be – just need a good cup of tea with them 🙂 I’m so sorry to hear about your nan.

    17th March, 2017 at 10:45 pm
    • Reply Eat Explore Etc

      Not pictured in the blog post: the cup of tea I had with them. 😉 Can’t have a not-quite-a-raspberry-bun without a brew!

      And, thank you. As I’m British, talking about feelings is awkward (hah!) but I do appreciate your kind words. 🙂

      18th March, 2017 at 11:57 am

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