Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Bun Recipe

By | Easter, Hot Cross Buns | No Comments

Here is a quick post for all those listening to Overnights with Trevor Chappell – Check this page  Hot Cross Buns  for some history of these buns, Perhaps you will agree with the Tudor law banning their sale, except on certain days. They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday. Below is my favourite recipe from the wonderful Elizabeth Baird. Hot Cross buns are at their best toasted and topped with lashings of good butter

Makes 16 buns.

65 g granulated sugar

125 ml warm water

1 package (8 g) active dry yeast (traditional)

175 ml whole milk

60 g butter

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

500g plain flour

125 g dark raisins

40 g mixed peel

3 tablespoons corn syrup

Add 1 teaspoon of the sugar to the warm water, then stir in yeast. Leave until the yeast has softened and bubbly and yeast.

Meanwhile, heat the milk, butter, remaining sugar and salt over low heat until the butter melts and sugar has dissolved. Let cool to lukewarm.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle, mix the eggs, egg yolk, and spices, then, add the yeast and milk mixtures.

Add half the flour and mix at medium speed to make a smooth batter, about 3 minutes. Add the  raisins and peel and then with a wooden spoon mix in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft sticky dough. Turn the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Knock the dough down and leave for 10 minutes. Then tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide in two. Flour your hands and roll each piece into a log, the cut each log into 8 pieces (I use a scale to make my buns equal in size).

Form each piece into a ball and place onto the baking sheet, leaving space around them. Cover with a towel and leave to rise, in a warm place, for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Meanwhile, hone your sharpest knife. With light but deft strokes, cut a shallow cross in the top of each bun. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until evenly browned and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Brush the top of the buns with the corn syrup and place the pan to a rack and leave to cool.

Hot Cross Buns

By | Breakfast, Butter, Easter, Hot Cross Buns | 2 Comments

Here is what I had for breakfast Easter morning – a toasted  hot cross bun slathered with butter – a perfect breakfast with coffee. They are good fresh baked, but somehow toasting them make everything come together, the dried fruit, candied peel and the spices. Best of all, the butter melts into the bun and drips down your fingers.

I don’t bother with piping icing or making flour and water crosses, I just cut the tops with a scalpel, more effective than a knife. The recipe is here and it is a good one. This time I used currants but I’ve also chopped up raisins, added some dried cranberries see but I always add some homemade candied peel.

One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns

By | Dr Johnson, Easter, Good Friday, Hot Cross Buns | 4 Comments

Every Easter I become very cross about hot cross buns. They appear in the stores far too early, I saw some for sale back in January and are never very good, the best I’ve found and they are just okay, are in our local Jewish bakery!
Bring back the Tudor law that prohibited the sale of spiced buns except on Good Friday, at Christmas and for burials. If the government is so keen to legislate fat and salt out of our lives they should do something useful like ban the sale of seasonal foods out of season.
The baking of special breads for Spring dates back to ancient Greeks and it was generally assumed that this custom was appropriated by Christians, like many pagan rites, who then added the cross to tie them to the crucifixion. Good Friday was the day to eat them –
“9 Apr. an. 1773 Being Good Friday, I breakfasted with him and cross-buns.” James Boswell in his Life of Johnson.
While always served hot that adjective was only added to the buns in the nineteenth century, the cross however, may have been there all along. The round bun represented the sun and the two right-angled lines divided it into four to represent the seasons.
I’d been thinking about making my own buns and then stumbled across this recipe by Elizabeth Baird.
Knowing her recipes to be solid I made some today. Yes I know its not Good Friday, but I’m not selling them. I didn’t have any currants so I used a mixture of dried fruits I had left from Christmas – Thompson raisins, mixed peel, I believe peel should be in hot cross buns, and some dried cranberries. Not what I’d normally reach for but they were there and they are colourful and I chopped the mixture to make everything currant-sized. I was pleased Elizabeth advised making the cross with a sharp knife I’ve never been a fan of piped or icing crosses. And do make those cuts deep, my crosses are a little hard to see. I did add a glaze made with icing sugar and lemon juice, just to make them shine.

Verdict? I just ate one with a cup of Earl Grey tea. Good, but still not as I remember from my childhood but no doubt that memory is better than the real bun. Try making some yourself and let me know what you think. And to make them hot again? Hot cross buns are always better toasted.