Date, Rose and Pistachio Buns

I’ve described these buns as the love-child of turkish delight and a chelsea bun and I think it’s a pretty fitting label. The rose flavour is infused into the milk that makes the dough which makes the buns amazing to smell and taste. I used chopped dates as the filling, which when baked, turn into this gooey, sweet, cinnamon filling. When the buns are finally topped with a rose icing glaze and chopped salted pistachios you know you are in for a treat!

I know a lot of people are put off making yeasted dough recipes as they look more complicated than a cake but these are really quite simple to make. I find it really satisfying rolling up the filled dough, cutting it into slices and then watching them puff up in the second rise. Not to mention that they make your house smell absolutely fantastic!

These buns were originally made for my friends birthday, but while I was baking them I thought I could make a double batch and gift the other ones to the Ethics and Antics crew who were at Vegan Life Love festival the other week. I like to do my small part to pay it forward with little everyday acts of kindness (normally cake or baking related) and I wanted to show a little bit of gratitude to all the work they do to promote veganism as well as show my appreciation for the awesome ethical clothing they make. Their website is here – do go and check them out!


Date, Rose and Pistachio Buns


  • 250ml non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4-5 tbsp vegan butter, softened
  • 5-6 drops rose flavouring (or use 2 tbsp rose water and reduce the milk by 2 tbsp)
  • 1 packet (7g) fast action yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 350-400g plain flour
  • 250g chopped dates
  • 75g pistachios (raw or roasted, salted is fine too)
  • 60ml fruity alcohol if you have some- I used a weird blackcurrant liquor from Italy (optional)
  • 2 tbsp dark brown soft sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

To decorate:

  • 75g icing sugar
  • 1-2 drops rose flavouring
  • 25g pistachios
  • rose petals


  1. Heat the milk, 2 tbsp of the butter and the caster sugar in a saucepan on a low heat until the milk is warm, the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Stir in the rose flavouring and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile measure out 350g of the flour into a bowl, add the yeast and salt and mix to combine. Check that the milk mixture has cooled to body temperature and then add to the bowl with the flour, mixing quickly with a wooden spoon into a dough. If it looks too wet add in a few more tablespoons of flour until it comes together into a loose dough. It will be very soft in texture – not like a bread dough. Turn out on to a floured surface and give a few gentle kneads to bring together. You’re not trying to stretch it out – just a few turns to combine.
  3. Give the bowl a quick wipe and place the dough inside, cover with cling film and put in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size, 45 mins – 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile place your dates into a bowl and cover with the alcohol if using. Give them a good stir from time to time as the dough rises to help them absorb the liquid.
  5. When the dough has risen dust your work surface with flour and tip out the dough. Knead it gently together, knocking the air out of it. It will be very soft and a little sticky, add a little more flour as you need to. Roll out the dough into a rough rectangle around 35cm x 50cm and don’t worry too much if it doesn’t have perfect corners!
  6. Drain the dates of any excess liquid – we won’t be using any remainder liquid in the recipe but feel free to keep hold of it for another use (my other half drank it – but this is not recommended!)
  7. Spread the remaining 2-3 tablespoons of vegan butter onto the dough and sprinkle over the cardamom, cinnamon and brown sugar. I find it easier to mix the sugar and spices together in a bowl first as the brown sugar tends to clump together but it’s not essential. Now sprinkle the dates and chopped pistachios evenly on top.
  8. Starting on the long edge nearest you, start to tightly roll the dough up gently into a long sausage. Cut the dough into slices using a sharp knife, or even better – dental floss (pull it underneath the long roll of dough and bring the ends over each other at the top to ‘cut’ off a slice). I make about 11 slices, including the ends (I bake these separately in ramekins). Place the buns into a greased tin, leaving a little space between each bun so they have room to rise.
  9. Cover and leave to rise for 25-35 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 °C.
  10. Once the buns are risen (they should have puffed up so they’re touching) place the tin in the oven for 25-30 minutes, by which time they should be lightly golden on top and feel slightly soft in texture underneath when prodded.
  11. While the buns cool, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar with 1-2 tbsp of water and a drop more rose flavouring – you  are aiming for quite a thick consistency.
  12. Once they are completely cool, cover with the glaze and scatter over the rest of the pistachios and rose petals if you have any. Try your best not to eat them all at once or even better, share with a friend.


7 thoughts on “Date, Rose and Pistachio Buns

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