It’s nearly Easter Weekend and this means the Easter Bunny is gonna leave me some eggs which I am allowed to gorge on until I am physically sick and no one will judge me, the clocks with go forward and I’ll lose an hour of valuable sleep, Family will come round for an Easter Sunday dinner, daffodils are in abundance and the shops are full of, not only chocolate eggs, but Hot Cross Buns in all their currant-ey, cinnamon-ey, sticky goodness.
Hot cross buns were usually eaten for breakfast on Good Friday, which sounds like an awesome breakfast to me and the only day you’d ever get away with this! The cross on them is supposed to ward off evil spirits who would make the bread go stale and if a hot cross bun is hung in the kitchen it will protect the home from evil spirits as well as ensuring all bread baked for the next year will turn out perfectly. If you’ve read my post about my Pizza dough escapades then you’ll know I need all the luck I can get!
These is also a legend of a widow in London who baked hot cross buns for her only son who was due to return from sea. However, he never returned and she hung a bun from her ceiling and every year she baked and continued to hang a new bun. A pub was then built on the site of the house and named ” The Widows Son” and every year on Good Friday a Royal Navy sailor hangs a bun ( that has the year on it) from the roof as well as singing a few songs and drinking to the lost sailor.
How sad is that?
Also giving hot cross buns to friends on Good Friday will cement your friendship for the rest of the year which I think is a lovely idea. I can see why giving hot cross buns would help with this because so if you have a friend who makes awesome baked goods and gives them to you, you’ll do anything to keep them as a friend to ensure a steady supply of goodies!
To make the Hot Cross Buns I used the Pioneer Woman Recipe, but I halved the recipe to give me 12 buns instead of 24. This is not a recipe to make if you need the buns quickly as it does take a few hours, but it’s well worth it! Also a lot of the ingredients I found were store cupboard staples, so no need to buy lots of new ingredients that you may never use again!
Dough: 2 cups of Organic Scottish whole milk ( or whatever you prefer to use) , 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of Sugar, 4 1/2 cups of strong bread flour ( or all purpose flour) , 1 1/8 teaspoons of fast action dried Yeast, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 tablespoon of salt.
Filling: 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a pinch of ground nutmeg, a pinch of ground allspice, 1/4 cup of raisins. The recipe stated to use Cardamom, but I didn’t have any so I didn’t use any!
Glaze: 1 egg white, 1/8 cup of Organic Scottish Whole Milk
Icing: 1 egg white, 1/8 cup of Organic Scottish Whole Milk, 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar.
In a big pan and on low heat add the milk, olive oil and sugar and stir. Then heat the mixture until almost to a boil. Take off the heat and leave to cool for a wee bit, but so that it’s luke warm.
Add 3 1/2 cups of flour to the milk mixture and the yeast and stir to combine into a sticky icky mess. Cover with the pan lid and leave to rise for 1 hour. I warmed the lid in the oven for a wee bit before covering the pan and left the pan on top of the oven, but not on any hot rings.
Da da, it’s magic, it rose.
Add the remaining 1 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, stir together all the filling ingredients.
Roll out the dough into a kinda rectangle shape and then sprinkle on about tablespoon of the sugar/spice mix, then cover with some of the raisins. I just guessed the amount based on what looked right! Very scientific. Then fold the sides of the dough in on itself ( fold sides into the centre to enclose the sugar/ raisin goodness) and then roll the dough into another rectangle and sprinkle with remaining sugar/ spice mix and raisins. Fold the dough again.
Make sure you have your baking trays prepped before hand i.e covered with baking paper. Then pull off bits of dough and roll into a ball. Now I was unable to get the surface completely smooth using the method described by Pioneer woman but I found rolling the ball of dough on top of the work surface using my palm kinda helped. Place the balls of dough onto the baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place.
Given my previous dilemmas with finding a warm enough place and getting the dough to rise, I decided to turn on my bottom oven and as well as my top oven, but leaving the door of the top oven open ( so really it was the grill that came on) and I placed the baking trays on top of two stools placed into front of the oven. One tray went on top of the oven, but I rotated the trays round to ensure all got a blast of heat. I ended up leaving them for 1 hour and 30 minutes as this was how long I was on the phone to my parents!
It was a kinda crude set up, but it actually worked and the dough rose really well!! Whoop Whoop victory dance!
Preheat oven to 200°C ( well mine was already on and preheated due to the above) then mix the ingredients for the glaze together and brush the glaze on the tops of the buns before placing them in the oven for 20 minutes. They will be a really golden brown colour. Remove from oven and tray and place on a cooling rack placed over another baking tray. This tray is to capture the icing that drips off when you ice them.
Add the ingredients for the icing in a stand mixer and mix together until smooth. Watch that the icing is not too runny , it needs to be a bit thick so that it sticks to the buns and doesn’t run all over the place but not too thick that you are unable to pipe it. Place the icing in a piping bag, then ice a cross onto the top of each bun. Leave the icing to dry for a bit, then eat or give to friends or hang in your kitchen.
Enjoy and Happy Easter!!