Herdwick lamb filled hot cross bun with a marmalade glaze

  • medium
  • 20 buns
  • 5 hours plus time to freeze the meatballs

This recipe by Gabriel Waterhouse is a playful twist on a hot cross bun. The dough is based on a doughnut dough, and the filling is a sweet-and-savoury mixture of braised Herdwick lamb, chutney and slow-cooked lyonnaise onions. Herdwick lamb comes from a rare breed of Cumbrian sheep. It has a gamey flavour, due to Herdwick sheep’s love of foraging in and exploring the Cumbrian hills. Leftover chutney will keep in a sterilised jar for several weeks, and the leftover braised lamb is delicious in Lancashire hot pot, sandwiches or in a ragù. Leftover onions freeze well, and taste delicious mixed into buttered pasta or paired with ham.

First published in 2022
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Braised Lamb Shoulder

Lyonnaise onions

Plum, date and fig chutney

Hot cross bun dough

  • 50g of cane sugar
  • 10g of fresh yeast
  • 325g of strong white flour
  • 60g of butter, cold
  • 225ml of whole milk

Bun filling

Bun cross

  • 75g of strong white flour
  • 100ml of water

To finish

  • 1l vegetable oil, for frying
  • marmalade, thin cut


  • Stand mixer with dough hook



To cook the lamb, first preheat the oven to 175°C/gas mark 3


With a knife, remove any larger pieces of fat from the shoulder


Season the lamb with salt and black pepper


Sear to a golden brown colour on all sides in a heavy pan with a lid. There’s no need for oil, as the fat on the lamb will render down as it sears


Once seared, add the wine, garlic, thyme and rosemary to the pan. Place the lid on top and bring to a simmer


Place in the oven for 3 hours or until tender


Remove from the oven and leave to cool at room temperature


For the lyonnaise onions, first peel and half the onions, then cut them into long thin slices


Melt the butter in a heavy pan with a lid. Cook the onions in the butter with the lid on for 30 minutes, or until softened


Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes until the onions turn a pale golden brown, then remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool


Next make the plum, date and fig chutney. In a heavy pan over a medium heat add the honey and spices and warm gently. Add a little water if it looks like the spices might burn


After a few minutes add the dried fruit, water and stir. Place a lid onto the pan and cook for 15 minutes over a medium heat until the fruit softens


Leave to cook for 5 minutes before transferring to a food processor with a blade attachment and blending to a smooth paste. Remove from the blender and leave to cool


To make the hot cross bun dough, first place all the dough ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Bring the ingredients together to form a smooth dough

  • 50g of cane sugar
  • 10g of fresh yeast
  • 325g of strong white flour
  • 60g of butter, cold
  • 225ml of whole milk

Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour


For the hot cross bun filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment add 200g of the cooked lamb, 100g chutney, 100g lyonnaise onions and 1 heaping teaspoon harissa


Season with salt and pepper and bring the mixture together until combined. Check the seasoning - it should be well seasoned, and have plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add more harissa if you like things a bit spicier


Line a tray with parchment paper and roll the mixture between your hands forming around 20, 20g meatballs. Place the tray into the freezer and freeze until hard. Once frozen you can store the balls in a container in the freezer


Remove the bun dough from the fridge and divide it into 20, 30g balls


Using your hands, flatten each ball into a small circle and place a lamb meatball into the centre of each


Encase each meatball in the dough, carefully sealing it inside by pinching the dough firmly at one end


Line the buns onto a tray, placing the sealed side onto the bottom of the tray


Combine the white flour and water in a small bowl and bring to a thick paste

  • 75g of strong white flour
  • 100ml of water

Place into a small piping bag, cut a 2mm sized hole in the end and carefully pipe a cross onto each bun


In a pan carefully heat vegetable oil to 180°C

  • 1l vegetable oil, for frying

Fry the hot cross buns, just a few at a time for several minutes to a golden brown colour, moving them around the pan with a spoon. Remove them carefully onto kitchen paper to drain


Warm a few spoonfuls of marmalade in a pan and using a pastry brush glaze the buns in the marmalade


Serve straight away or keep warm in an oven until ready to serve

First published in 2022

Determined to move away from the world of traditional fine dining, Gabriel Waterhouse started a supper club out of his own Hackney flat. Over time, this has evolved into his own permanent restaurant The Water House Project, where he serves a regularly changing tasting menu to guests in a deliberately relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

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