…hot cross buns!
I’ve wanted to try making hot cross buns for a couple of years now but never quite got round to it before Easter and it seems a bit wrong to make them after Easter for some reason. However in Dan Lepard’s always excellent ‘how to bake‘ column in the Guardian this week he had a recipe for…you guessed it…Hot Cross Buns!(click for recipe) It seemed like a good opportunity to try them out.
As is often the case with Dan’s recipes they had a couple of interesting ingredients thrown into the mix – in this case cider and double cream. As the recipe only called for 150ml of cider and the Co-op only sold 500ml bottles, I selflessly had to drink the rest of the bottle while I was making them – it’s a hard life!
Ingredients (makes 12 buns)
- I used a mixture of sultanas and raisins for the mixed fruit. Next time I think I will rehydrate them by soaking them in a little water, this will stop them from drawing water out of the dough and should help the finished buns keep a little longer.
- I found there was far too much of the mixture for the crosses, I will probably halve it next time.
- Conversely I found that there was not enough glaze (probably says more about my sweet tooth than anything else), I ended up making another batch of glaze.
- I used flour from Shipton Mill and yeast from Doves Farm.
How to make them:
1) Mix the ingredients for the ferment (yeast, wholemeal flour and cider), mix well then leave to ferment for about half an hour.
2) Whisk together the cream, eggs, honey and mixed spice in a small saucepan, warm gently to just above room temperature on a very low heat stirring all the time – you do not want it to cook! This is just to give the dough a bit of warmth so that the yeast gets a bit of a boost as the alcohol and the spices will slow it down.
3) Mix together the flour, cornflour and salt in a separate bowl.
4) Add the cream/egg/honey/spice mix to the ferment, stir well. Add the flour mix and the dried fruit and mix it all together, scraping in any flour from the side of the bowl. Leave to rest for 10 minutes – you can refill your glass of cider if you need to at this point!
5) Scrape the dough out onto a worktop and knead gently for a couple of minutes. When I did this raisins kept popping out all over the place – just stick them back in and keep going! Form the dough back into a ball and put it back in the bowl. Cover and leave somewhere warm to rise for an hour (I put it in the airing cupboard but an oven on very low can work very well too).
6) Once the dough has risen for an hour tip it back out onto the worktop and flatten it down with your fingertips to squeeze out all the air bubbles.
7) Divide the dough into 12 roughly even pieces, shape each piece into a ball and place the balls on a lined baking tray to rise.
8) Leave these to rise until they have noticeably increased in size (I left them about 45 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C.
9) When the buns have risen mix the ingredients for the cross (plain flour, sunflower oil, water) and spoon into a piping bag.
10) With a very sharp knife lightly score a cross into the surface of each bun then pipe the cross mixture onto these cuts, don’t worry too much about neatness, they will even out in the oven.
11) Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown, turning if you need to ensure they are evenly cooked.
12) Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
13) When they have cooled a little (but not completely), mix together the ingredients for the glaze (water, sugar, mixed spice), heat in a pan until it starts to go syrupy. using a pastry brush coat the buns with the glaze. (alternatively you could dissolve some apricot jam in a little water, warm it through and use as a glaze instead).
14) Eat and enjoy!
A Prayer for Good Friday:
in the cross of Jesus
we see the cost of our sin
and the depth of your love:
in humble hope and fear
may we place at his feet
all that we have and all that we are,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.