Friday 2 April 2010

Hot Cross Buns

Yes, it's that time of the year again - nearly Easter and I'm actually going to manage to post this recipe on Good Friday (just....)! (See last year, where I was late.... as ever!) And although I'm not going so far as to have a bake off of lots of different hot cross bun recipes (though check out Chele's blog if you want to see her progress) I'm going to give you my version this year.

I'm happy to give both ingredients and method because although the recipe is heavily influenced by Dan Lepards techniques and recipes, I feel I've made this one my own. Full of juicy moist raisins and subtly spicy, these mini hot cross buns have got a lovely soft texture and a good bite too. Delicious spread with plenty of butter, even better if they're warmed first. Mmmmm, hot cross buns. It's been worth the wait to make my own rather than buying them since Christmas!

Yes, they aren't shiny and pretty like last year's buns, but lets be honest, that sticky glaze makes them tricky to take into work! I admit that a sticky top is nice though, so check out last year's post for a sticky topping.

175g plain flour
175g strong white bread flour
generous tsp instant yeast (probably about 7g)
scant tsp salt
generous tsp mixed spice
grated zest of a lemon
190ml milk, scalded and allowed to cool slightly (I used semi-skimmed)
30g butter
50ml water (approx)
pinch (1/8 tsp) vitamin C powder (optional)
1 egg, beaten
100g raisins, soaked for about an hour in approx 100ml boiling water

A little extra flour for the crosses

- In a large bowl, mix together the flours, yeast, salt, mixed spice, lemon zest and vitamin C powder.
- Add the butter to the milk and stir until melted.
- Add the egg, milk and butter mixture to the flour and mix well to form a dough. Drain the raisins of their soaking liquid, discard the liquid and add the raisins to the dough, mix to combine.
- Leave the dough out of the way in a warmish place for about an hour and a half. It will have grown.
- Knead the dough briefly, but don't worry about it too much, it's just to amalgamate it all.
- Shape the buns. I used my weighing scale at this point - I decided to make mini hot cross buns and each of my pieces of dough weighed between 48-52g (roughly!). Knead into ball shapes and place fairly close together on a tray to prove. I spaced mine slightly apart, so that the buns retained their individual shape after baking, but if you want more of a batched edge, place them closer together.
- Leave for about 45 minutes, until they have grown somewhat - I left mine on the top of the oven whilst something else was baking, so I guess it was fairly warm for them.
- Make a paste using a little plain flour and water, then pipe crosses onto the buns. I don't have any measurements for the amount of flour and water I used, but the paste ended up being the thickness of thick pouring cream. I put it into a small plastic food bag and snipped off the corner, the larger the hole you cut, the thicker your crosses will be.

- Preheat the oven to Gas 6/200C (if not already on for something else!).
- Bake the buns for about 25 minutes (I'm afraid I can't remember the exact time mine took and although I wrote it down, I've lost my little piece of paper, can't think where it's gone.....)
- I turned mine upside down for the last 5-10 minutes of baking (which was an interesting manoeuvre, involving many baking gloves and two trays, not sure I recommend it!).
- When baked cool on a wire rack and then add glaze if desired.

Delicious served warm and buttered, or toasted and buttered. These aren't as soft as shop bought hot cross buns, but they are really delicious. I think next time I'll experiment with upping the spice a bit, add more citrus zest, perhaps orange as the lemon was very subtle and perhaps add some different dried fruit too - I'm thinking apricots or perhaps glace cherries, stem ginger or mixed peel - so many delicious options!


Chele said...

I'm liking the sound of mini hot cross buns! I have been omitting the glaze on my recipes too, like you it makes them hard to transport and I find it doesn't really add all that much flavour to the finished bun.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I never get the flour & water paste right, so I've started to do my crosses with glace icing. And I always do the glaze - I find it makes them keep better as well as adding a nice lemony sweetness.

Caroline said...

Foodycat, I think if I hadn't been taking them into work I would have done the glaze, because it is quite a nice finish to the buns and is aesthetically pleasing! I'm interested that you say it makes them keep better, as I find they don't keep all that well. I tend to freeze any leftovers pretty quickly.


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