Friday, April 10, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

Yesterday after supper I decided to make hot cross buns. I know they are traditional for Good Friday, but I had never made them before.

A quick search online turned up a recipe by Anna Olson of TV's Sugar. I have seen her show, and was confident that her recipe would be tasty. Additionally, the recipe looked easy, and I had all of the ingredients on hand! I left out the candied cherries and candied pineapples, feeling that I would stick with just the raisins and candied peel, which seem more traditional.

If you have a large stand mixer, these are a snap to make!


For the Buns
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp instant dry active yeast
1 large egg
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup diced candied orange peel

In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar and milk. Make sure the milk isn't cold form the fridge, as this may cause problems for the yeast.
Stir in the eggs.
Add the spices, salt, flour and melted butter.
Once the ingredients are combined, add the raisins and candied peel.

With the mixer, kneed on low speed for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it, as the dough wanted to climb up the dough hook. Alternatively, according to Anna, you can mix by hand with a wooden spoon for 8 minutes.... I would think that you would actually need to kneed the dough for most of this time, not just stir it!

Butter the mixing bowl, and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a tea towel, leave in a warm place and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.

When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide it into 12 small pieces. I made sure to punch down the dough, removing the air during this procedure, as that is the normal practice in yeast breads. Grease a 10" spring form pan, and put the 12 smooth balls into the pan. I am sure you could use a square pan, or even put them out on a cookie sheet if you wanted buns that were not attached. The spring form pan works well, because after they are baked you will apply a glaze to the hot buns.

Cover the buns with a tea towel and let rise another 20 minutes.

Place in a 350F oven and bake for 35 minutes, until the buns are dark brown.

I was disappointed by how dry the buns looked when they came out of the oven. But I had forgotten about the glaze.

For the glaze
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

While you are waiting to take the buns out of the oven, combine the sugar and water in a pot. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, but not browned.
When you take the buns out of the oven, poke holes in them. I used my cake tester. A toothpick would also work well.
Brush the glaze over the top of the buns. Even though it seemed like too much, we ended up pouring all of the glaze over the buns, and I'm glad we did.

We left our buns to sit overnight, and soak up all of the glaze.
This morning, my husband made the icing, and applied nice white crosses to the tops of the buns, using a piping bag.

For the icing:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp milk

I think that Anna Olson intended to frost the entire bun, like a cinnamon roll, rather than just put crosses on them, judging by the amount of icing she made. I don't think that the extra icing was necessary - they would be too sweet. To avoid the icing all together, you could make a white dough of flour and water to apply to the uncooked buns, as Anna also suggested. I think I will try that next time.

The buns ended up soft with a chewy texture, and slightly sticky because of the glaze. We all loved them and decided this recipe is a keeper.


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