Every year hot cross buns and easter eggs seem to appear on the supermarket shelves earlier and earlier. I’m fairly sure that they just remove the mince pies from christmas and replace them with the hot cross buns. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got to the point where they will be available all year round. This would piss me off as I love the anticipation of waiting for things to come in season to enjoy them often for a short amount of time. Now before I get on my high-horse I should make a confession….
One year I was so lazy that I left the christmas tree up for the whole year. I know, I’m so ashamed. You see, life just got in the way and other things always seem to be a priority (read: more fun than taking a christmas tree down). Before I knew it, it was March and then it was July and then I just thought, fuck it, December will be here before you know it and I’ll just have to put it back up again, I’m just going to leave it…*cringe*
Ok now I feel better that I got that off my chest, please don’t judge me!
Back to the HCB’s. I thought this year I’d have a crack at making some myself. I found a Donna Hay recipe that I based my buns on let me just say that these buns are on steroids my friends. They rose like nobody’s business – I was actually a little worried they were going overflow in the baking tin, but they behaved and stayed put.
A modification I’ve made to the recipe is the addition of more fruit. A big part of why I love hot cross buns are the juicy sweet sultana’s, especially when you toast the buns, so I thought I would go crazy and invite raisins and currants to the party and because this is a Christian party we couldn’t ply them with alcohol so I soaked these little babies in earl grey tea. Trust me, they loved it, and so did I.
Hot cross buns
Recipe inspire by Donna Hay
What you need:
- 400ml strong earl grey tea
- 110g sultanas
- 110g raisins
- 110g currants
- 2 tbsp dried yeast
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm milk (just zap in the microwave for 1 min)
- 4 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp all spice
- 50 g butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1/4 caster sugar, extra
For the crosses
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/3 cup water
For the glaze
- 50g sugar
- 30ml water
What to do:
Put the raisins, currants and sultana’s in the earl grey tea and soak for around 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 200C/390F
In a jug or bowl put the warmed milk, sugar and yeast. Mix and leave to stand for 5-10 mins. It will be ready when the mixture looks frothy.
In a large bowl, sift in the flour, spices, butter, egg, sugar and the drained fruit and the milk/yeast mixture. Mix with a butter knife until it starts coming together. Turn out onto a floured bench and knead until elastic. This will take about 10mins.
Put the dough into a clean, lightly oiled bowl covered with cling wrap or a tea towel and let it rise until it’s double in size which will take about 30mins.
Take the dough out of the bowl and lightly knead it for another 5 mins and then split into 12 pieces, roll them into balls and place them in a square 23cm baking tin lined with baking paper if your tin is not non-stick. Let it sit for another 20-30 mins, again till they’ve doubled in size.
Make the mixture for the crosses by stirring the plain flour and water together and put in a piping bag and draw on the crosses. A cool trick I learned from Jamie O is to use a snap lock bag with the corner cut off as a piping bag if you don’t have one. Works a treat.
Bake the buns for 30mins or until they go a dark golden colour.
Make the glaze by combining the sugar and water. Zap in the microwave for 20 secs to dissolve the sugar. Brush the glaze on the warm buns.
Serve with butter. Everything is better with butter.