April 22, 2014

hot cross buns

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I know that Easter is done and dusted and that you may well be thinking that I have missed the boat in terms of posting a recipe for hot cross buns but let me share a little secret with you.  My man and I share a particular weakness for these spicy fruit buns, so much so that we enjoy them at any time of year *wink

You see, hot cross buns were the last meal we enjoyed together before uniting as husband and wife.  We married on Good Friday, 1999 so it seemed only fitting that we start the day with hot cross buns, sadly they weren’t homemade as we now enjoy, they were just your average supermarket variety.

I remember waking earlier than usual that morning, the sun just peaking out over the horizon.  I looked over at the man still deep in slumber beside me wondering how I got to be so darn lucky.  My heart skipped a beat and butterflies of excitement starting dancing in my belly as I drank in the sight of him.  I reached out for his hand and holding it in mine thought about all the dreams we had shared, the babies we had created and the memories we had made.  Leaving him to his dreams, I slipped out of bed to prepare breakfast.  A pot of tea and toasted hot cross buns with lashings of butter.  We sat in bed that morning looking out towards the beach, sipping, eating and laughing.

There was no sense of urgency as I prepare to leave for my parents to get ready, just a quiet calm that continued throughout the day.  We exchanged vows on a cliff top overlooking the beach where I grew up, surrounded by loved ones, followed with a leisurely lunch at my dad’s restaurant.  As far as weddings go, it was a very simple affair but one that I look back on with the fondest of memories.

Before I went to sleep that night I thought back in reverse of all the events that had unfolded that day.  The partying and dancing until the wee hours, the heartfelt speeches, marrying the man that I adored – my soul mate, being given away by my Grandfather who only had weeks to live and eating breakfast in bed undisturbed by our little people.  In that moment I promised myself that I would start making our hot cross buns from scratch and I’ve been umming and ahhing over hot cross bun recipes ever since.  The recipe that follows is this years version adapted ever so slightly from here.

Hot Cross Buns

310ml warm milk
2 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp dried yeast
600 g sifted flour
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
1.5 tsp nutmeg (we love our spice)
60 g soft butter
2.5 cups raisins (might seem overkill but we love fruit too)
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Egg wash:
1 egg white
1 Tbsp milk

2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp water

Place the warmed milk into a small bowl with the sugar and sprinkle over the yeast.  Mix to combine and let stand about 5 minutes till frothy.
Place the sifted flour, salt and spices into a large bowl and mix.  Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add the raisins, yeast mixture and eggs and stir until combined.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes until it becomes elastic and smooth.  Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or gladwrap and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Once risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and punch down before dividing into 12-16 equal pieces.  Form a neat ball with each piece of dough and place about 2 inches apart on to a lined tray.  Cover and leave to rise again 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 190°c.  Mix together the egg wash ingredients and brush over the top of the buns.  Whisk together the flour and water to make the crosses until it makes a smooth paste.  Pipe the top of the buns then bake approximately 15 minutes until golden.

Best enjoyed with lashings of butter and a pot of hot tea!

*edited: I use a fan force oven, if you have a regular oven heat to 200°c and bake for a total of 20-25 minutes, reducing the heat to 180°c after 10 minutes.



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