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Plum Shuttles or Valentine Buns
Sweet yeast-raised bread buns with dried fruit and candied peel formed into the point-ended shape of weaver's shuttles, glazed. Eaten on Saint Valentine's Day in parts of Leicestershire and Rutland.
The 'Leicestershire and Rutland Notes and Queries and Antiquarian Gleaner' of 1889-92 has:
"Curious Old Custom at Market Overton, Rutland.
Original Receipt from the Kingsdown, Lynsted and Norton Parish Newsletter, 2000?
Rutland Plum Shuttles
Ingredients - makes 12
1lb (450g) plain flour
2oz (50g) butter
½ teaspoon salt
4fl oz (125ml) warm milk
½ tablespoon caster sugar
1 egg (plus some beaten egg for glazing)
2fl oz (50ml) warm water
8oz (225g) currants
½oz (15g) fresh or ½ teaspoon dried yeast
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
Cream the yeast and sugar together and mix with the water.
Leave to stand for 20 mins until frothy.
Melt the fat in a pan with the milk and beat in the egg.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour and salt and mix in the currants.
Mix to a smooth dough and knead well on a floured board.
Cover and leave to rise until double in size (usually about 30 mins in a warm place).
Knock back and knead again.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape into a small oval shape.
Place on a greased baking tray and cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 30 mins in a warm place.
Heat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.
Brush with beaten egg and bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.
Is there anyone else out there who finds that ‘cooling on a wire rack’ always leads to a decrease in the number of items baked. I am sure that 12 went on the cooling rack; and yet only 11 when I went back into the kitchen? My Official Taster tells me that things decrease on cooling. I didn’t do physics at school so I can’t argue!
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