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How To Bake The Best Hot Cross Buns

How To Bake The Best Hot Cross Buns

Whether it’s the British tradition of hot cross buns that we have wholeheartedly adopted, the dove-shaped colomba pasquale from Italy, or the Eastern European kulich dripping with icing (and these are just a few examples), special sweet breads are baked all over the world to celebrate Easter. After the frugalities of Lent, baking with white flour, eggs, butter, sugar and dried fruits was a real treat and these sweet baked goods are still a treat for the taste buds.

This Easter, rather than buying packaged hot cross buns from the supermarket, why not bake your own in your oven? Not only will they taste delicious eaten warm straight from the oven, they’ll fill your home with the tantalising aromas of freshly baking bread, spices and sticky sweetness. Yum!

Ingredients

Buns

  • 4tsp dry yeast
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 250ml warm milk
  • 600g plain flour
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 80g butter, chopped
  • 160g sultanas
  • 2tbsp mixed peel, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 80ml warm water

Flour paste

  • 35g plain flour
  • 2tsp caster sugar
  • 2tbsp cold water

Glaze

  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • 1tsp powdered gelatine
  • 1tbsp water

Method

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the yeast with 1tbsp of the sugar and all the milk until the yeast has dissolved. Cover the bowl and leave for about 10 minutes in a warm place.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, spices and salt and then rub in the butter. Stir in the rest of the sugar and dried fruit with the frothy yeast mixture, beaten egg and warm water. It’s easier to use your hands at this point to mould the mixture into a soft dough. Cover the bowl with oiled cling-film and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size - approximately 1 hour.
  3. Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and knead the dough until it is smooth and pliant, before dividing it into roughly 20 portions. Roll each portion into a ball in your hand and place them on a large, greased baking tray. They should be close enough that they are almost touching. Leave the tray in a warm place until the balls have almost doubled in size - about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C (gas mark 7).
  4. To make the flour paste, sift the flour and sugar into a small bowl and then slowly stir in enough water to make a thick paste. Either pour the paste into a piping bag or improvise by placing it into a resealable sandwich bag and cutting a small hole in one corner. Pipe crosses onto the buns.
  5. Bake the buns for 15 minutes.
  6. While the buns are in the oven, make the glaze by stirring all the ingredients in a small pan over a low heat until the sugar and gelatine have dissolved, ensuring the mixture does not come to the boil.
  7. When the buns are done - you’ll know they’re ready as they’ll sound hollow when tapped - transfer them to a wire cooling rack and brush the glaze over them.
 
Filed under: easter, recipe

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