Hot Cross Buns
I am known to be quite a bossy boots when it comes to eating seasonal treats out of season. I don’t allow mince tarts in the house until the week leading up to Christmas and I try not to eat Hot Cross Buns until Good Friday. I don’t always succeed of course but the reverence is there.
So why am I posting HCBs now? Because I want to show you all how easy and satisfying it can be to make your own buns and if you practise now you can totally get your game on by Easter and be whipping out these beauties with minimal fuss.
I have tinkered with a few basic recipes over the years and come up with my own standard that has loads of fruit, plenty of spice and PEEL, which has almost been rendered extinct in bought buns.
Yes, I’m a traditionalist. You won’t be finding any chocolate chips here thank you very much!
HOT CROSS BUNS (makes 12)
4 cups plain flour
2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
¼ cup caster sugar
1 cup of sultanas
1 cup currants
¼ cup mixed peel
1 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons of salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup of plain flour
4 to 5 tablespoons water
1/3 cup of water
2 tablespoons caster sugar
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, sugar, spices, salt, sultanas and currants. Melt butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the milk. Heat for 1 minute. Add the lukewarm milk mixture and eggs to the flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth. Place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 to 1½ hours, or until dough doubles in size.
Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Punch the air out of the dough (very satisfying) . Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 12 even portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place balls onto lined tray, about 1cm apart. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 190°C.
To make the cross paste: Mix flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth, adding a little more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a small snap-lock bag. Snip off 1 corner of bag. Pipe paste over the tops of buns to form crosses. (Mine looks a little gloopy today but trust me, it all works out in the end.)
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until buns are golden and cooked through.
To make the glaze: Place water and sugar into a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Brush warm glaze over the warm buns. Serve warm or at room temperature with lashings of butter (don’t you just love the word lashings in the context of butter?).
Buns are best eaten on the day of baking but will keep well if frozen.