A Plum Shuttle is a yeast-leavened bun made into a palm sized oval shape, in the style of a weavers shuttle. Most sources indicate that Rutland is where these originated. They were carried around on Valentine’s day to give as a gift to the love of your life.
Market Overton, a village on the northern edge of the county of Rutland in the East Midlands of England had a
“old custom, dying out in 1895, to give ‘Plum Shuttles’ or ‘Valentine buns’ to all the children of the parish on 14th February”. [British History Online]
Recipe for Plum Shuttles
Sweet yeast-raised bread buns with dried fruit
- 450 g plain flour
- 225 g currants
- 50 g butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5g sachet dried yeast
- 50 ml warm water
- 125 ml warm milk
- 1 egg
Sift together flour and salt. Mix together the yeast and sugar add the water and leave to go frothy (15 minutes or so)
Melt the butter with the milk in a pan. Add with the yeast mix to the flour and salt. Add the currants. Mix to a smooth dough.
Knead the dough well then cover and leave to rise in a warm place until a double in size. About 30 minutes.
Set oven to 200C a little less for a fan oven.
Knock back the dough and knead again for a few minutes. Divide into 12 even pieces. Shape into fat shuttle shapes and place on a greased tray. Leave to rise again for about 30 minutes.
Brush each shuttle with a little beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
I like these while still a little warm from the oven. But try serving cold, cut in half, with a little butter or cream and jam.