In September, in honor of the annual Midwest Cornish Festival we are sharing Cornish recipes contributed by friends, fans and family members.

Grandma Gribble’s Saffron Buns

Submitted by Gretta Gribble and David Gribble. Thank you!

Makes two dozen buns.

My mother was generous with the saffron (bought at the drugstore in Dodgeville), and her saffron buns were remarkable.  ~ Gretta Gribble


  • 2 pkg. dry yeast
  • 1/4th cup warm water
  • 1 pkg. saffron steeped in 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/3rd cup, no more, shortening melted
  • 2/3rd cup, no more, sugar
  • 2 level tsp. salt
  • 1 pinch of ginger
  • 4-5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4th cup currants
  • 1 small pkg. candied lemon peel
  • 1/4th tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4th tsp. lemon extracts



The saffron should be steeped like tea in boiling water, an hour or so before the rest. Don’t strain the heated saffron, but let it partly cool.

Dissolve the yeast in about 1/4th cup of warm water, approximately 105 degrees.

Mix ½ of the flour with the first seven ingredients. (Yeast through dry ginger.)

Beat about 200 strokes*, then let sit in a warm place for ½ hour.

Mix the remaining flour with the fruit and nutmeg and add lemon extract to that batter mix.

Combine the flour mixture with the fruit, nutmeg, and lemon and knead about one hundred times.

Let the combined batter rise once, then press it down before making it into buns that you let rise again.

Then bake at 375 degrees for thirty minutes.


*Today’s bakers will probably mix with a beater rather than beat or knead by hand.

In the O’Shaughnessy Chronicles, descendants of southwest Wisconsin’s hard rock-mining, nineteenth century Cornish immigrants weather early twentieth century change. The third book in this series, Puppet on a String will be released Sept 28th. I’ll be signing books at the Midwest Cornish Festival.