Since it’s almost Easter I thought it would be nice to try out some new Easter recipes. We always buy hot cross buns, so I thought if I can make bread, I’m sure I can make hot cross buns. Hot cross buns are basically a sweet dough with dried fruit and spices added. There are literally hundreds of recipes out there. I found this hot cross bun recipe on the BBC site and it seemed really easy. I love the fact that this recipe calls for chopped apples in addition to the dried fruit. As usual, I have made a couple tweaks to the recipe, so my version is below. I hope you enjoy it.
300ml + 2 tbsp of 2% milk
3 1/2 tbsp of butter
500g unbleached white flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp Fleischmann’s Quick Rise yeast
5 tbsp glazed mixed fruit
3 tbsp dried currants
Zest of 1 orange
1 granny smith apple – peeled, cored and diced
1 tsp cinnamon
5 tbsp flour and approx. 5 tbsp of water
5 tablespoons apricot jam
Start by heating the milk and butter on the stove top until it reaches between 120º -130º F.
Combine the flour, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl. I like using the quick rise yeast as it saves me about 1 hour – because the dough only has to rest for 10 minutes. Add the warmed milk and egg. Using the dough hook on your mixer, knead the dough until it is nice and elastic.
Note: You don’t want this dough to be too dry because you will be adding the fruit in the next stage. Try not to add any extra flour, even if the dough looks a little sticky.
Once the dough has been kneaded well, place in a bowl that has been oiled. Cover with a towel and let rest for 10 mins.
While this is happening, mix the dried fruit, orange zest, apple and cinnamon in a bowl. This is a fun job for little hands. I like letting the kids get involved in cooking. They get to taste the ingredients as we go along (but I think I may have ended up with 3/4 of an apple vs a whole one!) and it gives them the opportunity to test their math skills.
Once the dough is rested, put it on a floured countertop. Flatten it out and spread the fruit mixture on top. Fold and knead the fruit into the dough until it is distributed evenly. This is a another fun part with which the kids can help.
Once all the fruit is nicely combined, cut the the dough into 16 pieces and make into buns. Here’s a video on how to shape buns for baking if you need some help.
Arrange them on a parchment-lined baking tin and cover with a clean towel. Move them to a warm draft-free place and let rise until they are double the size (about one hour).
Once the buns have doubled in size, mix the flour and water to a smooth thick paste, similar in consistency to pancake batter. Place in a piping tube with a small end and pipe a cross on each bun. Note: If you don’t have a piping bag, snip a hole in one corner of a plastic bag.
Preheat your oven at 425ºF. Once the buns have doubled in size and the crosses are in place put the pan in the oven on the middle shelf and allow them to bake for 20 mins or until they are brown on top.
While the buns are baking, melt the jam on the stove top on low heat (be careful not to burn it). Push through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps.
Once the buns are cooked, remove them from the oven and glaze immediately. Peter loved “painting” the hot cross buns with the glaze.
At that’s it. All you have to do now is let them cool down (or not) and enjoy.