Thursday, 21 April 2011

(Very) Hot Cross Buns



I'm officially on holiday. Its a lovely feeling. I'm feeling festive and in the mood to celebrate the holiday weekend(s). The only down side to this by-in-large extremely happy state of affairs is that I seem to want to sing Cliff Richard songs all the time at the moment. 'Summer Holiday and 'Congratulations and Celebrations' are on a constant loop in my head. Its a sorrowful byproduct of the holiday joy.

But the long weekend(s) are simply made for baking, no? Not only is it Easter, with all the baking treats this first weekend brings, but also the Royal Wedding the following weekend. Personally I'll be celebrating Wills 'n Kate's forthcoming nuptials by eating a lot of cake. I'm sure, if they knew, they would appreciate my very generous gesture.

So first off, Hot Cross Buns.

By wonderful coincidence, saving me from researching the best buns to bake, Felicity Cloake in The Guardian dedicated a whole column to making the perfect hot cross bun today. However, I'd also read Nigel Slater's monthly column in Sainsbury's Magazine recently in which he described making hot cross buns as:

 'the kitchen will be filled with the smell of Easter-dried fruits, mixed spice and warm baking*. This is cooking for the sake of it, for the sheer pleasure of bringing a tin of glistening, sugar-coated baps from the oven and watching everyone tuck in'

So I decided to combine Felicity and Nigel's recipes. Which means these buns are the illegitimate children of Nige and Felicity

I've never tried making hot cross buns before and found them to really just be a fancy-pants dough mixture. Admittedly piping on the crosses were a bit of a faff, but then without the cross, well the buns wouldn't be cross, just hot.

Hot Cross Buns
(adapted from Nigel Slater and Felicity Cloake)

450g plain flour
7g dried yeast
50g soft brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
80g sultanas
45g currants
50g mixed peel
2 large eggs
225ml milk
50g butter

For the crosses:
3 tbsps plain flour

For the glaze:
2 tbsp soft brown sugar

1. Sift the flour in a large bowl
2. Add the sugar, yeast, spice and half a teaspoon of salt
3. Stir in the dried fruit and peel
4. Beat 1 egg and pour into the flour
5. Warm the butter and milk (don't boil), and when warm add to the flour and initially bring together with a knife before using your hand to bring the dough together
6. Tip the dough onto a well-floured surface. It will be pretty sticky at this time.
7. Knead for 7-10 minutes until the dough feels all nice and soft and elastic
8. Pop in a clean bowl and cover with cling film or a tea towel
9. Allow to rise for approximately 1 hour or until doubled in size
10. Turn the dough back out onto a floured surface and divide into 12-16 pieces
11. Roll each piece into a ball and pop onto a nonstick baking sheet
12. Cover the buns with a tea-towel and allow to plump up for 30 minutes
13. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas Mark 8. Cut a cross into the top of each bun
14. Beat the remaining egg and using as a wash to gently brush over the buns
15. Mix the flour with a small amount of water to make a paste and pipe onto the top of the buns in the shape of a cross. Pipe either using a piping bag or a plastic food bag with a small hole cut into the bottom
16. Place the buns in the oven for 18-20 minutes
17. Make the glaze by mixing the sugar with 4 tbsps of kettled boiled water. Brush gently on top of your buns as soon as they come out of the oven
18. Allow to cool slightly before slathering with butter and tucking in with gusto!

Happy Easter!



* It was bloomin warm- I'm making them on the hottest day of the year- a sweltering 26 C in London today

4 comments:

  1. Hi Kate - thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
    I too have made hot cross buns but too late to put them on my blog!
    Nigel Slater is a wordsmith and makes everything sound wonderful. Love his recipes too.

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  2. Hiya Maggie, Happy Easter! I really enjoyed reading your blog and I absolutely agree, Nigel Slater is one of my favourite food writers, and when I came across his recipe for Hot Cross Buns, they just cried out to be made. It was my first attempt to be honest, and I was a bit concerned they'd be quite doughy or heavy, but they were pretty good- I'm sorry I don't mean to sound all arrogant, the praise goes entirely to Nigel's recipe!

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  3. Your very hot cross buns look delicious as I'm sure they were. I haven't made any for years, but they are so much better than any you can buy and more satisfying. Happy Holidays.

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  4. Thank you very much Charlotte-they were fun to make if a bit of faff with piping the crosses! And a very happy Easter to you too!

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Thank you very much for your comment- I appreciate every single one of them!