Hot Cross Buns

IMG_2408Happy Easter to all of you lovely readers, bakers, friends ‘nd family. How I have missed each and every one of you! Without showing too much misplaced optimism, I hope that in my absence on this ole blog, you’ve been following my goings on over at Rosebud Dives. Now that my feet are firmly back on Blighty soil, you can expect to see a lot more of me back in the kitchen, donning my apron, where I belong (although for a moment there, I was seriously considering a trans-Atlantic move to live on the beach and teach the art of scuba).

On this fateful Sunday, Mary Berry gazed out at me with her twinkling blue eyes from the row of baking cookbooks that my godparents were lovely enough to give to me, and her message to me was to bake some lovely hot cross buns. With her trusty baking bible in hand, I turned to page 336 (ominously lacking a picture) and set to work.

Ingredients

  • 450g strong white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp each mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • 7g sachet yeast
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 150ml milk
  • 5 tbsp warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 75g raisins
  • 50g candied peel

For the glaze

  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

Method

To prepare your ingredients, melt the butter in the microwave for a few seconds, then leave to cool. Warm the milk in a saucepan over a low heat. Boil the kettle so that you have tepid water to hand. Measure the flour, salt, spices, yeast and sugar into a large bowl and mix.IMG_2398

Make a well in the centre, and pour in the cooled melted butter, warm milk, warm water and egg. Mix together briefly with a wooden spoon before adding the raisins and chopped peel, then fully combine to form a nice soft dough.IMG_2399

Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for about 10 minutes. The dough will be very sticky at first, but after a while it will become smooth and elastic. Perseverance is paramount!IMG_2400

Pop the mixture into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave it to prove in a warm place for an hour and a half. My boiler room is decidedly the most perfect proving room, and has since been renamed as such.IMG_2402

Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the air out of it and knead again for two minutes. Using electric scales, divide the dough into twelve equal pieces, shape them into balls and score the tops with a cross. Pop these onto oiled baking trays, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove again for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and you are ready to put these buns in the oven. At this stage, I foolishly mixed together flour and water to make a paste, to form the crosses on the buns. This seemingly simple task was totally unnecessary and not recommended, as the whole rolling stage became a sticky mess and the sticks ended up far too stick-like, less stripe-like as intended.IMG_2403

In any case, bake the lovely buns for 15 minutes until they’re golden brown and sound hollow when the base is tapped. Gently warm the sugar and water to make a glaze, and brush them with it as soon as they come out.IMG_2404

We thoroughly enjoyed ours sliced in half, toasted for a few minutes under the grill, and slathered in butter. With an obligatory cup of tea, of course!IMG_2409IMG_2410What other Easter baking have you all got up to? I’ve seen some glorious chocolate creations (India, I’m looking at you) and a world of roasts, mini eggs and creme eggs. One year coming these renowned creme egg brownies are a must-bake for me, but for the moment, I only received one creme egg this year and am rather reluctant to share.

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