EASY TO MAKE HOT CROSS BUNS
So many gorgeous things come into season this time of year…Jersey Royals, asparagus, samphire and of course, Hot Cross Buns.
To me there is little more comforting than a toasted hot cross bun smothered in indecent amounts of butter. They are so completely delicious and really not difficult to make. If you haven’t tried making them yet then definitely give them a go this Easter!
For the dough
175ml whole milk
zest of 1 orange
375g strong bread flour
1 packet (7g) of fast action yeast
50g caster sugar
pinch of salt
150g dried currants
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the cross on the buns
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
5 tbsp water
For the glaze
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
(or melted apricot jam works very well too, and I think Mary Berry even uses gently melted golden syrup which sounds wonderful too)
Start by heating the milk in a saucepan with the butter, orange zest and cloves. Heat gently until the butter melts and then turn off the heat and allow to cool to the temperature of a babies bath.
While the milk is cooling and getting infused with delicious flavours, you can get on with the dough.
Mix the flour with the sugar, yeast, salt, currants and spices.
Remove the cloves from the milk, and then crack in the egg and beat well to combine. Pour the warm milk into the bowl with the flour and stir to combine. Tip it out onto the work surface and need until it comes together to form a dough. Keep working it and kneading it for 10 mins or so until lovely and soft to touch.
Pop it in a bowl and cover with a tea towel. It’s ready for it’s first rise - you want it to double in size. It should be somewhere warm, but not hot. an airing cupboard is a good option or a trick i learned was to turn your tumble drier on for a few minutes and then pop the bowl with the dough into the machine with the door closed. It’s lovely and warm in there and should take about 40 mins to double in size. Take note that it can take 1 hr and 20 mins to double in size - it takes the time it takes.
Preheat the oven to 220c
When the dough has doubled in size, knock it back by giving it a punch and then roll it into a long sausage and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then pop them in rows on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. They should be quite close together but not touching. Put the tea towel back on and leave them for 45 mins to prove again. By the end of this rise they should have joined up in a satisfying sort of way.
Mix the flour sugar and water together to form a thick paste. Pour into a piping bag and pipe crosses onto the buns before popping into the oven for 15-20 mins.
When the buns come out of the oven brush them immediately with the mixture of sugar and boiling water to make them sweet and shiny. I like mine split in half and toasted, served with lashings of butter.