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Rutland Plum Shuttles, Rutland

A food that is a folk tradition, and is well worth the effort of making, the Plum Shuttle is a yeast-leavened bun made in a hand-filling oval shape, said to mimic the shuttle that the hand-weavers of the Vale of Belvoir used. The dough is enriched with butter, and made more interesting by the inclusion of raisins and caraway seeds.
Where in other areas flowers and other presents were given to loved ones on Valentine’s Day, in Rutland Plum Shuttles were offered – indeed they still are, at least to children. In earlier times it is said that they were carried about on the day, perhaps in the hope of meeting a loved one, or of impressing someone who took your fancy and was deemed worthy of an impromptu gift.
The buns are made like bread, kneaded, risen, knocked back and kneaded again, then glazed with beaten egg and sometimes a sprinkling of sugar though that is not traditional.
If truth be told the buns are not very reminiscent of a weaver’s shuttle, but it is a nice story and the rich dough nicer still. And the tradition is tempting too. Flowers for Valentine’s Day, or well shaped buns, which, after all, would you prefer?

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