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British Recipes: Hot Cross buns

A tray of 9 hot cross bunsReligious holidays always make me think of home (as I live 20,000 km away) and Easter is no exception. Good Friday was always breakfast at Mum’s house and Hot Cross Buns was on the menu. I love Hot Cross Buns and so do the rest of my family. It’s the one time that you can add butter as thick as cheese slices and not feel guilty. Well I do anyway.
This year, I’m having a few close friends over for brunch on Good Friday and I’m going to make my own Hot Cross buns as they taste so
much better than any bought buns.  Definitely worth the effort.

Makes 16

Ingredients for the buns

  • 680 gr strong white flour
  • 14 gr dried yeast (2 sachet)
  • 10 gr salt
  • 100 gr light brown, very fine sugar
  • 80 gr unsalted butter, very soft
  • 15 gr mixed spice (spice mix including cassia, coriander seeds, caraway, nutmeg, ginger and cloves)
  • 175 ml whole milk, warm
  • 175 ml warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 125 gr sultanas (can mix with currants)
  • zest of 1 orange

Ingredients for the white cross

  • 100 gr strong white flour
  • pinch salt
  • pinch sugar
  • 25 gr melted butter
  • 125 ml water

Ingredients for the bun wash

  • 75 ml boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon caster (very fine white) sugar
  • pinch of mixed spice (as above)

Method

In a very large mixing bowl, add all bun ingredients, except the sultanas and zest. Mix together. Pour the mixture onto a floured surface and start kneading. As you do this, gradually add the sultanas and zest so that you knead these ingredients into the dough. It will take about 15 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Add this dough pack into the mixture bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 – 45 minutes until doubled in size.
Line a very large baking tin (with high sides) with greaseproof paper.
Scrape the dough out of the mixing bowl and cut in half and again until you have 16 even slices of dough. Roll each of these into a ball and place in baking tray, about one finger spaced apart. Cover again with the same cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 – 50 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F.
In a small bowl, mix all the bun cross ingredients together. Whisk them until you have a smooth paste. Add this to a piping bag with a 1/2 cm nozzle and pipe a cross on each bun once they have risen.
Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. Mix the bun wash ingredients together and lightly brush each bun with this wash.
Serve the hot cross buns, hot with a little (or in my case a lot) of butter inside. Enjoy!

 

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