Hot Cross Buns

So it’s Easter! This means eating lots of chocolate, and my favourite thing – hot cross buns!! Cut in half, grilled, with lots of butter.

Usually I make these with my Mum as our Easter tradition, but she no longer eats wheat, or dairy, or sugar, or basically anything fun at all. Last year we tried to make a no-fun version of these and they were awful. So this year I did them on my own, and they worked out pretty well!

I’m never sure what day of Easter these are supposed to be made, so I do them on the Friday so that they can be enjoyed for the rest of the weekend.

It definitely helps to have a kitchen assistant when making these, to help with the kneading and the cleaning up, and to share the final product with. So this year my lovely boyfriend volunteered  was forced into being my apprentice.

I used an Australian Women’s Weekly recipe as the base (I think I’ve mentioned before that they are pretty much foolproof) and tweaked it a bit – Mum and I always thought they didn’t use enough spices, and boring fruit.

So here’s my version of the recipe:

14g dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups warm milk
4 cups plain flour
3 teaspoons mixed spice
60g butter
1 egg
1 cup mixed dried fruit (including the peel & cherries, although if you just want to use sultanas that’s cool too)

Combine yeast, sugar and milk in a bowl, and stand in a warm place for about 10 minutes. It will become frothy and weird looking, that’s what it’s supposed to do.

Sift flour and spices into a bowl and rub in the butter. Add yeast mixture, fruit and egg, and mix until it’s a sticky dough. I find it’s easier to start with a spoon then turn out onto a floured surface and lightly knead it. Then put it back in the bowl, cover and stand in a warm place about 45 minutes until it’s doubled in size.

Grease a large rectangular dish – I use a big lasagne dish. Preheat the oven to about 220C.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, knead for a few minutes then divide into 15 equal portions. Knead each portion and then place in the greased dish. Cover and stand in a warm place until the buns have risen again, and look something like this:

Make a flour paste for the crosses by mixing 1/2 cup plain flour, 2 teaspoons caster sugar, and 1/3 cup water in a bowl. Then put it in a plastic bag and snip the corner off, and pipe the crosses! This is where a helper comes in handy…

Bake them for about 25 minutes until they are golden brown on top. Turn them out onto a wire rack to cool. I recommend having one pretty much straight away though, while they are still fresh and warm from the oven. With lots of butter!

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