I've always liked the Easter long weekend. It's a pretty low key holiday for us, no running around preparing feasts, no mad shopping for gifts. It's just good food, occasionally company and plenty of sun.
I've been itching to get into the kitchen and do some baking and what better to bake then Hot Cross Buns! I've never baked them before, so I spent some time researching until I found this wonderful recipe by Jane de Graaff via Food Safari. Yay Food Safari!
It's crazy easy, and flexible. I love a recipe that allows for spontaneity and alteration. I included more citrus zest, cinnamon (ground fresh), chai seeds and cranberries, finishing my lovely buns with a grapefruit citrus glaze. And I doubled it!
Ingredients - makes 24 5 tsp dried instant yeast 1000g plain flour 80g mixed zest (I used lemon, grapefruit, and orange) 180g sugar (I used my homemade vanilla sugar) 2 tsp ground rock salt 2 cinnamon sticks (I ground mine fresh in my spice blender, the aroma is intoxicating!) 1 tsp ground all spice 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg 2 eggs beaten 150g butter 100g sultanas 100g mixed dried fruit 100g dried cranberries 6 tsp of chia seeds (black and white)
Crosses 8 tsp plain flour 8 tsp cold water
Grapefruit citrus glaze 100ml of fresh grapefruit juice (you could use half of a lemon or lime too) 1 stick of cinnamon ground fresh 50mL boiling water 6 tbsp sugar
- Sift together your dry ingredients - flour, sugar, spices, salt and instant yeast.
- Warm through your milk and butter on a stove until the butter is melted, don't boil it. Allow to cool slightly, the mixture shouldn't be scalding hot.
- Slowly stir warm milk and butter into the dry mixture, gradually adding in your beaten eggs, your chia seeds and finally your mixed dried fruits. You should now have a sticky dough.
- Lightly flour a clean surface and turn out your mixture. It should be really sticky, so dust your hands and the mixture with flour before kneading. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until the mixture is smooth and not as sticky. You may need to dust your surface with flour a few times.
- Place your kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap and allow to rest for an hour in a warm spot. Sometimes I preheat the bowl in a microwave for 30seconds. You really need to create a warm humid environment so the yeast can work. Allow your dough to double.
- Punch your dough in the centre, then evenly separate the dough into 24 buns. I find it easy to separate into four, then roll into sausages and slice into sixes and form the buns with your hands.
- Lay out the buns closely on a paper lined greased try. Then cover with a tea towel and allow the buns to rise for an hour, or until they have doubled in size.
- Mix together your crosses ingredients. You need a tight sticky paste, so you may need to add more water or flour to make the dough more mailable. Put your cross dough in a piping bag and pipe on your crosses. Voila!
- Bake your buns in an oven at 220 degrees Celsius, for 15-20 minutes.
- While your buns are baking, make your glaze by mixing together all the listed ingredients. When the buns are done, allow them to cool for about a minute or two before brushing your buns liberally with your glaze. You might want to glaze them a few times.
- Allow your buns too cool further on a cookie rack or just start eating!
I really liked this recipe, it's inspired a few more variations that i'll be sharing with you all soon! These buns toast really well, are great with butter and a good cup of coffee or chai.