Happy Easter – Hot Cross Buns

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HE is Risen! I made these for my mom on Good Friday as we always had them growing up.
I have experimented over the past 3 years and this is the best recipe so far! Adapted from Mary Berry’s website. A hot cross bun is a made with currants or sultanas (golden raisins) marked with a cross on the top, and traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the British Isles, Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and some parts of America. The buns mark the end of Lent and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial.

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp ground spice mix (ginger, cloves, nutmeg, allspice)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 lemon finely grated zest only
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package fast action yeast
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 10oz whole milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins or currants
  • olive oil or spray for greasing

For the topping

  • 1 beaten egg yolk and 2 teaspoons of water
  • simple syrup for glaze (1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water)
  • Powdered sugar and water for crosses

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Directions

  1. Put the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl.

  2. Melt the butter in a pan and warm the milk in a separate pan. Add the butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go. Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough.

  3. Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand incorporating the sultanas and mixed peel into the dough. Lightly knead for 10 minutes until silky and elastic and forming a smooth ball. The kneading can also be done in a food mixer with a dough hook.

  4. Oil a bowl and place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.

  5. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and divide into 12 balls. Line 1-2 baking trays with paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.

  6. Slip each baking tray into a large clean polythene bag, making sure the bag doesn’t touch the buns. I did not have a bog large enough to do this so I made do with saran wrap, some cursing and tried to keep the saran wrap from touching. Leave for 40-60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size.

  7. Preheat the oven to 375.

  8. When the buns have risen remove the saran wrap and brush with the egg yolk water mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown.

  9. While buns are baking, melt the sugar and water in a pan and bowl until the sugar has dissolved and mixture has thickened a bit. Remove buns from oven when ready and while they are still warm, brush the buns with a little syrup to give a nice shine. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.

  10. When cooled make a cross on each bun with the powdered sugar water mixture. Make sure to adjust the sugar/water ratio so the mixture is not too thin or thick. Pipe on with a pasty bag or create one using a plastic baggie with the tip cut off.

 

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