Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hot cross buns: the recipe!

Here's Ali's recipe for those gorgeous hot cross buns. One secret, she says, is baking them in roasting tins or cake tins. It keeps them close together and means they rise beautifully. I'll post a reminder ahead of Easter next year.

Hot cross buns
(makes 20-24 buns)
 This is based on Alison Holst's recipe in Recipes to Remember (1990). Since then Alison has published several other versions, using slightly different proportions and spice mixes.

1 cup milk
½ cup hot water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp active dried yeast (or 2 Tbsp Surebake yeast)
2 cups high grade flour
100g soft butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 ½ Tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup mixed dried fruit
2-3 cups high grade flour
2 Tbsp golden syrup
1 Tbsp water
  • Place the milk and water in a large bowl – the resulting liquid should be lukewarm. Add the sugar and yeast, and whisk to combine. Whisk in the first two cups of flour, cover the bowl, and leave in a warm place to rise. 
  • Meanwhile, in a separate bowl or a food processor, cream the butter and sugar, then mix in the egg, salt, vanilla and spices.
  • When the yeast mixture has doubled in volume, stir in the butter/sugar/egg mixture, the dried fruit, and the second two cups of flour. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough forms a satiny, springy ball, adding more flour as necessary. (I use my old Kenwood food mixer with the dough hook.)
  • Divide the dough into 20-24 pieces, and form each into a ball. Place the balls in a buttered roasting dish and/or buttered cake tins, flattening them slightly and leaving 1 cm spaces between them. (I use a standard roasting dish, which holds 12 buns, and a 22 cm square cake tin, which holds 9 buns).
  • Place in a warm place to rise. (I use the oven, turned to ‘low’ for a few minutes till just warm, then turned off before the tins go in. If the oven’s too hot at this stage the yeast will die and the buns won’t rise.) The rising could take anything from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the freshness of the yeast.
  • While the buns are rising, make the pastry for the crosses: Rub 30 g butter into ½ cup of flour, and add enough water to form a stiff dough. Roll out thinly and cut into strips about 4-5 mm wide.
  • When the buns are well risen (they should have at least doubled in height, and be touching each other), remove the tins from the oven. Turn the oven up to 200°C using fan-bake (or 225°C without the fan).
  • Brush the pastry strips with beaten egg to make them stick, and lay them cross-wise, very gently, on top of the buns.
  • Bake the buns for 10-12 minutes, until evenly browned.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: Warm 2 Tbsp golden syrup with 1 Tbsp water, and stir to combine. (You can use soft brown sugar instead, dissolved in the water.)
  • Brush the buns with glaze as soon as they come out of the oven. After 3-5 minutes, gently remove the buns from the tins and place on a wire rack. Serve warm with butter. 


Deborah said...

I am very tempted to try these tomorrow, rather than waiting for a year until Good Friday rolls around again.

AnneE said...

Let me know how they turn out. Just eating the last one Ali gave me, toasted.

Rosa said...

I made a batch today - very tasty! Definitely better than other recipes I've tried in the past. I have no problems with baking and eating them on the wrong day - I'll have tasty things any time of year. :-)

AnneE said...

I'm really pleased you did this - have shown Ali your comment. And after all, they would be jsut as good at any time without the crosses! Ali said when her girls were younger they put 'ban the bomb' and feminist symbols on theirs.