September 2015

University bakers back the Great Birmingham Bun

Read time: approx 1 mins

Bakery students at University College Birmingham are putting their best foot forward helping to produce a sweet treat for fun runners.

The trainee bakers are helping top chef David Colcombe develop the Great Birmingham Bun for the upcoming Morrisons Great Birmingham Run.

Chef Colcombe, a Visiting Professor of Culinary Arts at UCB, drew on the city’s history and ethnic diversity, as well as his childhood memories, to come up with the recipe for the yummy bun.

The ingredients include a custard filling that pays tribute to Birmingham’s own Bird’s custard; spices and fruit representing the Asian runners who take part in the event; and coconut flour to represent the culinary influences of the Afro-Caribbean community.

"I have created the bun as an energy-boosting treat, whether at the end of a long training run or on the day itself. I also took inspiration from childhood memories growing up in the city. I still remember the flavours of the custard slices and sticky buns brought home by my gran at the end of her shift at the local bakery."

Chef Colcombe

"These buns are a great idea and capture the flavour of Birmingham perfectly. They make a perfect snack before or after running, but probably not during."

David Hart, communications director for the Morrisons Great Birmingham Run

"We were delighted to pitch in and help David make the Great Birmingham Bun. It is great to see the city's cultural heritage celebrated in classic bakery and I am sure runners will appreciate a tasty treat after all their exertions."

Neil Rippington, Dean of the College of Food at UCB

The 13.1 miles Morrisons Great Birmingham Run is on Sunday, October 18. To sign up, visit:

The Great Birmingham Bun recipe


For the pastry:

  • 350g strong white flour
  • 150g coconut flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7g fast-acting yeast
  • 200ml full fat milk
  • 100ml whipping cream
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 2 free range eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp cinnamon

For the pastry cream:

  • ½ litre milk (infuse with cardamom overnight)
  • 3 drops vanilla essence
  • 50g sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50g sieved white plain flour
  • 1 cardamom pod

For the filling:

  • 100g badam or almonds
  • 100g kishmish or raisins
  • 100g khubani or apricots
  • To finish:
  • 75g orange jam
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Orange zest


For the pastry cream:

Sieve milk to remove cardamom pod, which has been infusing overnight; add vanilla and warm over medium heat.

Whisk sugar and egg yolks until pale and creamy. Gradually add flour and whisk until smooth. Add half of the warm milk and mix well. Pour all of mixture into pan and slowly bring to boil. Stir constantly until mixture thickens.

Cool and put aside, putting a butter pat or clingfilm on top to avoid a skin.

Chef’s tip: Best made the day before and leave in fridge overnight.

For the bun:

Sieve strong white flour, coconut flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in centre, and add yeast.

Warm milk, cream, butter, nutmeg and cinnamon until butter is melted and mixture is lukewarm. Add to flour and add eggs until it comes together as a soft dough.

Place on lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes until elastic in consistency.

Place in oiled bowl; cover and leave until doubled in size (will take 50-80 minutes).

When ready, take half of the mixture and place on floured surface and roll into rectangle 15x10cm.

Spread on half of the pastry cream and sprinkle half the fruits and almonds on top.

Tack down the dough nearest to you and roll opposite side towards you, tightly.

Cut into thick rounds approx 2cm thick.

Repeat with other half of the dough.

Prepare baking trays with greaseproof paper; place buns cut side up and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 180ºC, Gas Mark 4.

To cook, place in oven for 20-25 minutes; remove and place on cooling rack.

Blanch orange zest three times in boiling water, add zest to jam and melt with a little water; brush buns with orange mixture to glaze.

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