Sunday, 13 April 2014

Spicy Mixed Dried Fruit Hot Cross Buns

For me, this week has been about celebration. And any celebration worth celebrating has got to involve some baking! Fact.

With it being almost Easter and all, I thought it was about time I tried my hand at Hot Cross Buns. This guys' baking book has been on my shelf for a couple of years now. As you know, I'm not all that much into following recipes myself. But baking something new, well, I needed some expert, GBBO standard advice.

So swiftly turning to page 82, Chapter 3: Easter I found Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns - perfect!

Well, kind of... Inevitably I want to put my own stamp on my celebration buns. So out with the Chocolate Orange, and in with a little bit of what I fancy, which happens to be a lot of warming spice and dried mixed fruit. A fairly classic combo in anticipation of the melting butter that will marry so well with a freshly baked generously spiced and fruit bun. 

Baking these does take a bit of effort. Effort in the sense you have to wait for the dough to rise, only to bash out all the air once it has risen. And kneading can feel quite monotonous. While drawing on the cross is a bit fiddly.

(Not really selling this recipe am I!)

But actually, when it comes to celebrations, what seems like a faff isn't so much a faff when you get extremely satisfying results, somewhat impressive looking buns and a treat for yourself and others around you. 

We've all got a bit more time on our hands over the Easter break, and this is usually combined with a few more hungry mouths to feed. I couldn't recommend home made Hot Cross Buns any more highly for a scrummy Easter treat!

Spicy Mixed Fruit Hot Cross Buns (makes 8)

Preparation time: 2½ hrs (including rising time)
Cooking time: 25 mins

Hot Cross Buns

450g strong white bread flour

½ tsp salt
3 tsp ground mixed spices (mix as you wish - I used mainly cinnamon with cloves, cardamom, ginger and nutmeg)
50g caster sugar
7g fast action yeast
1 orange, zest only
1 large egg
200ml warm milk
30g melted unsalted butter, left to cool
120g mixed dried fruits


50g strong white bread flour
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp golden syrup, warmed

Here's how to make them...

1) To make the buns - sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl (apart from the dried fruit). Add in the zest of the orange.

2) Combine all the wet ingredients - the egg, milk and butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix using your hands.

3) Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5/7 minutes until elastic. Tip in the dried fruit and combine into a ball. 

The warmest place I could find was under the sink!
4) Set aside in a lightly oiled bowl, cover in cling film and leave in a warm place to rise. Leave for about 1 hr or until doubled in size. 

5) Once risen. Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Make 8 equal sized balls from your dough and place on a baking tray. Cover in cling film and leave to rise again for another 40 mins, or until doubled in size.

6) Now it's time to add the famous cross! Simply mix together the flour and water in a bowl. It will form a thick sticky paste. If you have a piping bag - use that. If you're like me and don't, just improvise with a spoon. (There's no point making something at home if it doesn't look home made right?!)

7) Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200˚C in a fan oven. As soon as they're done - brush each bun with the warmed golden syrup. And that's it - home made Hot Cross Buns ready to serve!

// Click here to PRINT RECIPE //

I couldn't resist a bite!

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter break and indulge in whatever you eat!
Until next time...

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