I love a good hot cross bun, but really can't remember the last time I actually ate one. It's one of those sad state of affairs where some lovely seasonal treats start popping up all over the place but I resistresistresist, because it's still early in the 'season', whichever one it may be, and one can't eat cake/treats/buns aaaalll the time.
(Sorry but it's true, one can't possibly eat cake for all three meals eeeveryday....just some....well most).
But then, before you know it, the season is over and the treats have disappeared without a trace, and I've missed my chance to indulge. The same things happens with mince pies, which I LOVE but only really ever have 1 or 2 a year.
But not this time. No. This batch of little lovelies will be split and toasted and buttered and devoured throughout and after Easter. My freezer is stocked and I WILL indulge. I might just whip up some mince pies while I'm at it. With Love and Cake.
Hot Cross Buns
From River Cottage Handbook No.3 by Daniel Stevens
A few notes:
- If you're not feeling Eastery or want to leave Jesus out of your kitchen, simple leave off the crosses and you have some lovely, non-season specific buns...not that I think eating Hot Cross Buns in July should ever be considered a crime.
- To make the crosses nice and neat I made a teeny piping cone out of grease-proof paper (make a cone and snip the end off) and piped them on. But if you can't be bothered with that faff, and to be honest I've always found that homemade hot cross buns rarely achieve a cross that stands out like the shop bought variety so neatness matters little, just gently spoon the flour mix over in lines.
- If you're making these for a particular occasion, save glazing the buns until just before they're served, as it looses it's sheen after a while, or mine did anyhoo.
- For a few extra tips on dealing with yeasty thing, have a peep at my white bread recipe. The same rules and laws apply to these buns, and most yeasty recipes really.
You will need
a large baking sheet, lined
For the buns
250g strong white bread flour
250g plain flour
125ml warm water
125ml warm milk
2 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp fine salt
50g caster sugar
50g butter, at room temperature
100g dried fruit- raisins, sultanas or currants or a mix of all 3
zest of 1/2 orange
1 tsp mixed spice
For the crosses
50g plain flour
For the glaze
1 tbsp light colour jam or jelly, with out major lumps
- In a nice large bowl, mix together all the bun ingredients with your hands.
- Turn out onto a well floured surface, the dough should be quite sticky, and knead for around 5 minutes until it is smooth and shiny.
- Pop the dough back in it's bowl, cover with clingfilm or a plastic bag, and leave somewhere snug and cosy for around 1 hour.
- When the dough has risen and basically doubled in size, tip it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and knock it about a bit to release all the built up gas.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces, shape into rounds and pop them on your prepared baking sheet, with a good few centimetres room between them.
- Leave the buns alone for another 1/2 hour or so to do more rising and when the time's nearly up preheat the oven to 200°c and prepare the mix for the crosses...you do this simply by mixing the flour and water to a paste.
- Pipe or spoon crosses over the risen buns (see notes above) and then get them in the preheated oven.
- Bake for around 20 minutes, until darkened and plump.
- Transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool while you prepare the glaze.
- Heat the jam with a splash of water so it melts and goes syrupy.
- Brush the glaze over the buns so they look shiny and jewel like.
- Now eat warm with butter, heaven, and after a few days give them a toast. Breakfast heaven any time of year.