Hot cross buns. Traditionally eaten on Good Friday although these days you seem to be able to eat them all year round just like Cadbury’s Cream Eggs. Anyway, today is Good Friday and together with Eldest Figlet, we made Hot Cross Buns. The Christian reasoning behind the buns lies in the ingredients; the bread being the bread taken at communion, the spices represent the spices that Jesus’ body was wrapped in inside the tomb and the sign of the cross on the top. It’s very windy outside and threatening to rain so a little spicy warmth in the kitchen is just the ticket.
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup milk
25g butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 cup currants
1 sheet ready made pastry or your own
Start by placing 1 cup of flour in a large mixing bowl together with the salt, brown sugar and yeast. Add the milk and boiling water and mix.
In a separate bowl mix together the melted butter, beaten egg and spices. Add to the yeast mix and stir.
Add the currants and stir again.
Add a further 1 1/2 cups of flour and begin to bring the mixture together into a soft dough.
Turn out onto a surface and start to knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and pliable. This is good for toning the upper arms! I had a warm glow about me after this little exercise.
Glad I had some help from Eldest Figlet. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and pop in a warm place for 20 minutes. Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t rise much. Now you need to cut the dough into eight even sized pieces and place in the greased 22cm spring form baking tin. They’ll look a bit small and have lots of room inbetween but that’s fine. Cover with clingfilm and return to a warm place until they’ve doubled in size. Preheat the oven in readiness to 200c.
Here they are having risen beautifully looking plump and cuddly….
Time to bake them now but first each little plump ball needs a pastry cross.
Now I didn’t have any bought short crust pastry so I had to Make My Own. It’s not that hard and I simply halved the normal amount I would make for a quiche.
25g butter (you can do half butter half lard to make up 25g)
Ice cold water
Simply cut the butter into the flower using a knife. Once it starts to clump up use your fingertips to pinch and rub the flour and butter together to make a breadcrumb texture. Start adding small amounts of ice cold water using the knife again. As the dough starts to come together use your fingertips to coax it into a ball of dough. Be really light and gentle with your dough and it will reward you by being light and feathery!
Start by cutting the pastry into thin strips and then cut to size to fit the top of the bun.
You should end up with something like this. Pop them in the oven for 5 minutes at 200c. After 5 minutes turn down the heat to 180c and cook for a further 15 minutes. I cover my buns with greaseproof paper for the first 10 minutes to prevent burning.
Here they are in all their spicy, yeasty, wholesome glorious-ness! I sustained a mild burn injury at this point so be wise and allow to cool before easing them out of the tin…. I know it’s hard isn’t it! They smell so delish!
Gently ease each bun apart from it’s neighbour, arrange hastily on a plate and scatter with little yellow chicks.
Continue to irritate your family by insisting on taking photos and moving plates/flowers/butterdish 5mm to the left and then….finally…..
….watch the steam curl in an upwards spiral as you tear open a little bun and smother with butter. Happy Days.