Hooray! It’s hot cross bun time. Really, it could be hot cross bun time any time of the year if you make them yourself, but you’d assume the novelty would surely wear off. Not me – I could eat these morsels of deliciousness all year round. These certainly bring back a rush of childhood memories of cold mornings and bedsocks, sinking my teeth into these toasted treasures. Although, I only ever preferred the fruitless versions, and of course, the highly coveted choc chip ones (I’ll be making them soon enough). These really aren’t all that difficult to make, and you can work on your biceps and triceps throughout the 10 minute kneading time. You really can’t beat homemade; you know the ingredients list won’t read like a junior high chem lab checklist, and the absolute joy that comes from getting your hands in dough and licking the spoon when making the cinnamon glaze is next to none.
Fluffy, spicy, warm and sticky, they allow the most comforting smell to waft through the house when you open that oven. Slather on a spread of lightly salted french butter, watch it ooze into the crevices in the cut-in-half-bun and ensure you have a fresh pot of tea on the go – preferably something rich and dark. Rooibos tea pairs well with the heady spices and the sticky cinnamon glaze – be sure to reduce the glaze on the stovetop, unlike the recipe says. Otherwise, you have a watery liquid which simply runs off the buns, or makes them soggy, and you don’t want to undo the work your oven did in creating such beautifully bronzed tops.
hot cross buns (adapted from SBS Food site)
Makes 12 – requires 2 hours proving time
- 2 tsp dried instant yeast
- 500g plain flour (preferably strong, high gluten, bread flour)
- 80g rapadura sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 300ml milk
- 60g unsalted butter
- 1 large, free range egg
- 140g sultanas or currants
- 30g mixed peel (I omitted as the stuff at the shops was full of unnecessary nasties)Crosses
- 2 tbsp self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp iced water
- 1/3 cup rapadura sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 150ml water
here’s what you do…
- Sift together yeast, flour, sugar, salt and spices.
- In small saucepan, gently heat milk and butter together over low heat (don’t let milk boil) until butter has just melted.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg lightly.
- Add milk mixture to flour mix and mix thoroughly, then add egg and mix to form a dough.
- Work in the dried fruit and peel (if using).
- Turn the dough out onto floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until dough is no longer sticky (great tutorial on how to knead here). Place into lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and place in warm spot to prove for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Once dough has risen sufficiently, punch down dough, measure dough, then divide evenly by weight into 12 portions. Place close together, in 3 rows of 4, on tray lined with baking paper.
- Cover again with cling wrap (or with clean tea towel) and place in warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled in size and very light in weight.
- Preheat oven to 220C (200C fan-forced). To make crosses, mix flour and water to form thick paste (add more flour/water to adjust if necessary). Spoon into ziplock bag, cut tiny bit off the corner and pipe mixture onto buns to form crosses (do this slowly so the crosses ‘hug’ the curves of the bun).
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until buns are nice and brown.
- To make the glaze, place all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thick, then paint over buns with pastry brush whilst still hot.