Saturday, March 30, 2013

Flagship Rum Buns

This is something I feel I need to post as a public service to my friends who are native Washingtonians who grew up eating the Flagship's rum buns. There has been a discussion on the local Chowhound about the rum buns and many people have been searching unsuccessfully for the recipe. Well. . . I have a very old, yellowed, disintegrating copy of the recipe that I cut out of the Washington Post many years ago in a column called “Anne’s Reader Exchange.” Here’s what it says:

"The rum buns served at one of our waterfront restaurants have gained national as well as local fame. The October, 1967, issue of Gourmet magazine carried the recipe for this specialty of the house. A reader repeats it here for Mrs. I. L. of Woodbridge, who requested the recipe after tasting the buns at the Flagship.

Happy baking to Mrs. I. L. I think this is the recipe for rum buns she wants.

In a bowl, combine 1 cup milk scalded with ¼ cup each of sugar and shortening and 1 ¼ teaspoons salt. Let mixture cool to lukewarm and stir in 1 envelope or cake of yeast. Beat the batter with a rotary beater until it is smooth and stir in 1 egg, well beaten, and 1 ½ teaspoons rum extract. Add 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted flour and beat the mixture with a rotary beater until it is smooth. Add 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons additional flour and mix the dough until it is smooth and light. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees F.) for about three hours or until it is double in bulk.

On a lightly floured board roll out the dough into two strips, each about 12 inches long, 4 inches wide, and ½ inch thick. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle each strip with ¼ cup each of sugar and chopped raisins. Rolls out the strips into jelly roll shapes about 15 inches long, pulling out the edges, if necessary, to keep them uniform. Cut the rolls into crosswise slices about ¾ inch thick.

Place the slices in well-buttered muffin tins, cover them with a towel, and let them rise in a warm place until they are double in bulk. Bake the buns in a hot oven (400 degrees) for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the buns from the oven and brush the tops immediately with an icing made by blending 1 cup confectioner’s sugar with 2 tablespoons rum extract. This makes about 18 buns.

Signed by Johanna"
Does anyone know Mrs. I. L. of Woodbridge, Virginia? Hope she has had many years of happy baking and that she still uses that old rotary beater.


  1. AnonymousJune 15, 2017

    we loved going to the Flagship 1972-1974, and as i recall back then the rum buns were giant mushroom shaped goodies that were served to every diner before the meal.. i do NOT recall ever seeing or tasting a raisin in any of them... did the recipe change?

  2. No, there were never raisins in the rum buns offered by the original Flagship Restaurant. However, when Phillips Restaurant chain bought the Flagship, it replaced the original rum bun recipe with their own which did have raisins. In my opinion, those who enjoyed the original Flagship rum buns found the Phillips version a disappointment by comparison.