Easter simply isn't Easter with out a plentiful bounty of these sticky, sweet, spiced Hot Cross Buns.
Although they can be purchased all year round in any decent sized supermarket, it does feel a little wrong to be buttering a freshly toasted Hot Cross Bun in, say, the middle of August. But perhaps I'm the only one sticking firmly to tradition when it comes to the eating of Easter treats: one large retailer (that rhymes with, erm, alfresco) reported selling nearly 200,000 Cadbury’s Crème Eggs and nine tonnes of mini eggs in the five days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.
And it isn't simply the traditional variety of Buns on offer: take your pick from the dozen different varieties on offer, for example, new this year: Heston's Earl Grey and Mandarin. Many Hot Cross enthusiasts balk at the array available, with one fanatic suggesting that chocolate Hot Cross Buns are only one short step from battered and deep-fried buns. Thankfully, a quick Google search reveals no one has yet to stumble on this idea.
Or at least no one has written about it online yet.
And in a (very) little twist on tradition, this year I baked these Apple, Sultana and Cinnamon Hot Cross Muffin Buns. But if you prefer your traditional Hot Cross Buns, here's last year's recipe.
How do you like yours?
Apple, Sultana and Cinnamon Hot Cross Muffin Buns
For the buns:
450g strong white bread flour
Half tsp salt
50g butter, cut into pieces
7g sachet easy blend yeast
2 tsp ground cinnomon
50g golden caster sugar
100g dried apple, chopped into pieces the size of the sultanas260ml milk
2 beaten eggs
For the Crosses:
3 tbsp plain flour
Half tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsps water
For the glaze:
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp boiling water
1. Pop the flour, salt, butter, yeast, spice, sugar and fruit in a large bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon
2. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and milk. Bring together with your hands to form a sticky dough and transfer onto a lightly floured work surface
3. Knead together until the dough becomes silky and elastic. The dough will remain very sticky!
4. Place in a clean bowl, cover with cling film and pop in the fridge overnight to rise slowly. Alternatively allow to rise over 2-3 hours in a warm place
5. Line a twelve hole muffin tin with tulip muffin cases. Once the dough is risen, turn out again onto a lightly floured surface and punch down to deflate. Using your hands, form the dough into twelve even sized smooth balls. Place each ball into a paper case and leave in a warm place for 30-45 minutes to double in size.
6. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan)/200C/Gas Mark 6. To make the crosses, mix together the water, flour and sugar to form a paste. Pipe or spoon the crosses onto the proved buns and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
7. Once the buns are out of the oven, mix together the boiling water and sugar to form a glaze and brush each bun with this to make them sticky and sweet
- This is a labour of love. But if you start the dough one night, the following morning you'll be enjoying toasty warm buns for breakfast
- Best eaten on the day of baking, but can stretch to a day or two after if toasted. Alternatively they freeze well
- Or you could enjoy this Easter Taste Test of the best shop bought Hot Crossed Buns
- I did a whole load of Easter baking. Here's a little shot of all the ingredients it took: