One ha' penny, two ha' penny – hot cross buns!
Easter is late this year and it certainly feels like it. Normally my birthday is right around Easter and it has always been more of joint celebration with birthday cake, Easter eggs and eating my body weight in chocolate.
This is the first year I decided to make hot cross buns instead of buying them. It's hard to find the real deal here in the States, all the hot cross buns seem to be more like sticky buns with icing rather than tea cakes. In the UK, they are sold everywhere as "tea cakes" until Easter approaches, when a cross is stamped on them and they become hot cross buns. I love them for breakfast, cut in half, toasted and smothered in butter with a cup of Miller Harris Thé Pétales.
I found this hot cross bun recipe in a book I have from Betty's Cafe & Tea Rooms in Yorkshire, UK. It's a lovely book full of seasonal recipes and desserts from their cafe's. I'm sure there's plenty of posts to come from this book.
Some of my beautiful birthday presents from this year. Some Miller Harris goodies, Fortnum & Mason delights, one of my favorite Jo Malone Scents, Liberty of London, Macarons and Books.
Bettys Tea Rooms Hot Cross Buns: (A Year of Family Recipes by Lesley Wild, Bettys Cookery School)
For the crossing paste:
- 180g (3/4 cup) strong white flour/bread flour
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of baking powder
- 50ml (3 tbsp) vegetable oil
- 200ml (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) water
- 400g (1 1/2 cups + 3 tbsp) strong white flour/bread flour
- 1 level tsp salt
- 60g (1/4 cup) fine white sugar
- 2 heaped teaspoons mixed spice (I used pumpkin pie spice)
- 45g (3 tbsp) butter (cut into small cubes)
- 50g (1/4 cup) fresh yeast OR 25g (2 tbsp) dried yeast
- 130ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) tepid water
- 70ml (1/4 cup + 1 tbsp) milk
- 100g (1/4 cup +2 tbsp) currants
- 115g (1/2 cup) sultanas
- 50g (2 tbsp) chopped mixed peel
- 200g (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) fine white sugar
- 200ml (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) water
Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl.
Then add the vegetable oil. Mix together until a crumb-like texture has formed.
Add the water slowly while beating until a smooth paste has formed. Once you've added all of the water, beat the paste for a couple of minutes.
Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in the fridge (make sure it's quite thick, mine was far too thin).
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, sugar and mixed spice.
Add the butter and rub the flour and butter together with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
In a small bowl dissolve the yeast with the tepid water.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the dissolved yeast and the milk.
Begin to mix it all together and then begin to knead the dough for 10-12 minutes (or use your kitchen aid on speed level 2).
After kneading, spread the the dough on a floured work surface and pile all the dried fruit in the center.
Fold the outside edges around the fruit and continue to knead gently until the fruit is evenly distributed (be patient).
Allow the dough to rest on the work surface for 5 minutes covered with a tea towel.
Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and shape into round balls.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Carefully place the buns on the baking sheets with plenty of space in between.
Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until the buns have doubled in size.
When the buns have risen, preheat the oven to 200C/390F.
Prepare the sugar syrup by heating the sugar and water together until the mixture becomes syrupy. Allow to cool.
Pipe the crossing paste over the buns. Bake the buns in the oven for 10-12 minutes until they are rich and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and immediately brush the tops of the buns with the sugar-syrup glaze.
Allow the buns to cool on a rack. Serve warm or toasted with butter and tea.
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