Sticky date buns

The longer the dough for this sweet fruit bread stays in the fridge the better the flavour – perfect with a cup of tea

  • Prep:35 mins
    Cook:50 mins
    Plus proving overnight or up to 72 hours
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 420
  • fat 16g
  • saturates 9g
  • carbs 65g
  • sugars 28g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 6g
  • salt 1.1g


  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 x 7g sachets fast-action dried yeast
  • 600g 00 flour, sponge flour or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 400ml warm milk
  • 200g butter, 50g melted, remainder very soft
  • 1 large egg, beaten with a fork
  • 200g dates
  • 250g light soft brown sugar
  • icing sugar, for dusting (optional)


  1. Up to 3 days before you want to bake, mix the caster sugar, yeast, 400g of the flour and 1 tsp salt in a big bowl. Whisk together the milk, melted butter and egg, then tip into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon. Cover with buttered cling film and put in the fridge at least overnight or for up to 3 days.

  2. When you’re ready to make the buns, put the dates in a bowl and pour over just enough boiling water to cover. Leave to soak for 15-20 mins. Drain, pat dry, stone and chop.

  3. Mix the remaining flour into the dough. Use your hands to bring the dough together, then tip out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead. Roll out with a little more flour to a large rectangle, about 50 x 30cm, with one of the short sides facing you. Spread over three-quarters of the soft butter, then sprinkle over three-quarters of the brown sugar. Fold the bottom third of the dough up and over the middle third, then the top third down over the other two.

  4. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Rotate the dough 90 degrees, or a quarter turn one way. Roll out again to a similar-sized rectangle as before, this time with one of the long edges facing you. Spread over all but 1 heaped tsp of the remaining butter, scatter over the remaining brown sugar, and sprinkle over the dates. Roll up tightly like a Swiss roll from one of the long edges. Trim the ends a tiny bit, and slice into 12 roughly even portions. Lightly butter the holes of a muffin tin with the reserved butter, then push a roll, cut-side up, into each hole.

  5. Bake for 50 mins until golden and risen. Remove from the tin while warm, so they don’t stick. Dust tops with icing sugar, if you like, or serve sticky-bottom up.

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