Hot Cross Easter Buns
We have now moved into our new country dwelling, close to a little place called Windygates. Initially I just thought that was an amusing name, but after our first night here it became apparent that all places are usually named for a reason. Huddling up in bed, my boyfriend and I buried our heads under the covers as the wind tore though this old house like a runaway freight train. It sounded like we had been invaded by an army of Kazoo players, towering over our bed, playing every hit song from the 1940’s! And usually after a stormy night, you wake up to blue skies and singing birds, but the wind and the snow (!) has continued now for almost a week. My promise of spring seems to have been postponed…Will it ever arrive?
Well, spring might not be here after all, but Easter is. And for that occasion, I have baked a batch of homemade Hot Cross Buns. These are not like the ones you get in the supermarkets, these are heavy and rich in fruit and spices. Possibly just the thing you need when its -5 outside?
Whenever I need to make a traditional recipe, I always go to my trusty recipe book, The Dairy Book of Home Cooking by Sonia Allison published by the Milk Marketing Board in 1978! It straight forward with no frilly language, just good solid recipes you know will work.
450g plain flour
50g caster sugar
25g fresh yeast or 1 tbsp dried yeast
150ml lukewarm whole milk
4 tbsp warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
100g juicy currents
50g mixed peel
50g butter, melted and cooled
50g granulated sugar
3 tbsp milk
4 tbsp flour
enough water to make a sticky paste
Sift flour into a bowl, add sugar, milk and yeast (if it is fast active) If using fresh yeast, mix the yeast with the milk until dissolved, then add to the flour.
Add the spices and fruit and mix together. Beat the egg with the melted butter and mix with the flour mixture. Add the water and salt, mix until the dough is soft and leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 5 min until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Cover and leave to rise until its doubled in size.
Meanwhile make the white cross paste, by combining the extra flour with enough water so the paste is thick but workable. Place into a freezer bag and set aside.
Once risen, cut a cross on top of each bun with a very sharp knife. Cut a corner from the freezer bag, and pipe out a cross shape into the slit of all the buns.
Bake in a hot oven at 220°c/fan 200°c/gas 7 for 20-25 min.
Transfer onto a wire rack and brush twice with the glaze, made by dissolving the sugar in the milk and boiling for 2 min.