Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Traditional Hot Cross Buns

As promised a few days ago, I have now made some more traditional Hot Cross Buns.  These lovely Easter Treats, eaten by my family on Good Friday morning, are simply fantastic.  With some gentle spices and dried fruit, what can be nicer for 'elevenses'.  

I used a recipe from the delightful Delia, surely a goddess in the kitchen, as well as an ardent football(soccer) fan.  Those in the UK will know Delia from a series of wonderful TV shows which taught so many to cook.  There is a Delia Online site, and you can find this recipe HERE.

The results from this recipe are very good indeed, the taste is wonderful and so reminiscent of  days of yore.  I did make one small change, that was in making the cross.  In Delia's recipe the flour is mixed with butter and rolled out, then cut into strips. Rather than that, which makes a cross that stands out on top of the bun, I used a paste of flour and water and piped it onto the bun.  This has the effect that it flattens and levels with the bun during cooking.  That is certainly how I remember them, and still see them in the shops today. 

Below are a couple of photos of the results, and I hope you agree they look tasty.  In the eating they don't disappoint in any way.

Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns - Close up
Ingredients:
  • 450g strong white flour
  • 1 level teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 level teaspoons, easy bake yeast
  • 3 level teaspoons ground mixed spice
  • 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 110g currants (I like pinhead)
  • 50g whole candied peel, chopped
  • 50g spreadable butter
  • 150ml hand-hot milk
  • 75ml hand-hot water
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • For the crosses:
  • 40g strong (or normal) plain flour
  • 10g spreadable butter
  For the Glaze
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbps water
Method:
  1. First tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt, yeast, mixed spice and cinnamon then give it a good mix. 
  2. Add the caster sugar followed by the currants and candied peel then mix these dry ingredients together and make a well in the centre.
  3. Next add the butter and pour the hand-hot milk and the hand-hot water over the butter followed by the beaten egg.
  4. Now mix everything to a dough, starting with a spatula and finishing with your hands until it is all combined, evenly mixed and leaves the bowl clean. Add a spot more milk if it needs it. 
  5. Next cover the bowl with a polythene bag and leave it at room temperature to rise – it will take about 1½ hours to 2 hours to double its original volume. 
  6. Then turn the dough out on to clean work surface (you shouldn’t need any flour) and punch out the air. 
  7. Now divide the mixture into twelve using a palette knife. 
  8. Take one piece of the dough and shape it into a round then roll it between the fingers of each hand, keeping your hands flat, to form a fairly smooth round ball (this should only take about 10 seconds or so) then do the same with the remaining pieces of dough.
  9. Arrange them on the lined or greased baking sheet (allowing plenty of room for expansion). Leave them to rise once more inside a large, lightly greased polythene bag for 45 minutes to an hour, or again until about double the size. 
  10. Meanwhile, if you want to make dough crosses, put the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter. Add just enough cold water to form a dough then roll it out thinly on a lightly floured surface to an oblong about 12cm by 16cm then cut it into 24 strips.
  11. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7.
  12. When the second rising is up, brush the strips with water, to make them stick, and make a cross on top of each bun trimming away any excess dough with a small knife. 
  13. Alternatively you can use a small sharp or serrated knife to score a cross in the top of each bun. 
  14. Bake the buns for 15 minutes near the centre of the oven. Then, while they're cooking make the glaze in a small saucepan by slowly melting together the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water over a gentle heat until the sugar granules have dissolved and you have a clear syrup. 
  15. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush them immediately with the glaze while they are still warm. 
  16. Then cool them on a wire rack. 
  17. If you are not serving them on the day that you bake them its best to freeze them as soon as they are cool. 
  18. Then when you need them defrost them and warm them through in the oven. If there are any left over they are wonderful, split, toasted and buttered on the following day.

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