hotcrossbuns

Hot cross buns are something I really miss in Germany. In Australia they pop up in bakeries and supermarkets a few days after Christmas to the outrage of the traditionalists who prefer a break between their mince tarts and easter eggs. I’ve been making my own hot cross buns for a few years. I tend to vary the fruit and nuts used in the mix depending on what I have on hand. Figs, dates, apricots, dried apple all work well. You can also add chocolate chips. I’m not a fan of peel so I tend to leave it out but by all means go for your life if you like it!

They are really easy to make, especially if you have the crosses and glaze good to go before the second rise so you can add the crosses before you pop them in the oven and the glaze once you take them out. Serve with butter of choice and your favourite jam. I like strawberry and rosewater and also pear and vanilla bean works really well.

              <strong>Ingredients</strong>


            <ul>
              <li>
                4 cups flour
              </li>
              <li>
                7g dry yeast
              </li>
              <li>
                2 Tbsp sugar
              </li>
              <li>
                250 ml plant milk with extra to brush buns before baking
              </li>
              <li>
                2 Tbsp vegetable oil
              </li>
              <li>
                1 Tbspn cinnamon
              </li>
              <li>
                1tsp nutmeg
              </li>
              <li>
                1/2 tsp each of ginger, cardamom and cloves
              </li>
              <li>
                Zest of an orange or lemon
              </li>
              <li>
                100g sultanas
              </li>
              <li>
                50g dates, roughly chopped
              </li>
              <li>
                70g walnuts or almonds, chopped
              </li>
            </ul>


              <strong>Crosses</strong>


            <ul>
              <li>
                3 tbs plain flour
              </li>
              <li>
                2 tsp caster sugar
              </li>
              <li>
                2 tbs water
              </li>
            </ul>

            <ul>
              <li>
                <strong>Glaze</strong>
              </li>
              <li>
                2 tbs brown sugar or jam
              </li>
              <li>
                2 tbs boiling water
              </li>
            </ul>


              <strong>Instructions</strong>


            <ol>
              <li>
                Warm milk, oil, zest and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat  (or microwave) until tepid. Add yeast.
              </li>
              <li>
                Leave for the mixture to become foamy and rise.
              </li>
              <li>
                Place 4 cups flour, zest and spices in a bowl. Pour the milk mixture into the middle and mix. Add warm (not hot water) until mixture is sticky but not wet and  mix until a large dough ball has formed.
              </li>
              <li>
                Cover with cling film and leave for 2 hours to rise.
              </li>
              <li>
                Dust the kitchen bench with some of the extra flour.
              </li>
              <li>
                Add nuts and dried fruit and knead for 10 minutes until dough is elastic and fruit and nuts are evenly dispersed.
              </li>
              <li>
                Divide the dough into half, then quarters, then keep dividing until you have 22 pieces and roll with floured hands into balls. Place on a lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel and allow to stand in a warm place for 40 minutes.
              </li>
              <li>
                Preheat oven to 220C. Brush the buns with milk.
              </li>
              <li>
                Mix the paste for the crosses and spoon into a small snap-lock bag. Cut a tiny section off the corner and pipe crosses over each bun.
              </li>
              <li>
                Bake for 20 minutes or until brown.
              </li>
              <li>
                Combine sugar and boiling water (or melted jam) for the glaze <em>(this will be extremely hot, avoid splashes)</em> and brush over the buns while warm.
              </li>
            </ol>


              <em>Makes abour 22 hot cross buns</em>