Sunday, 24 April 2011

Hot Cross Buns

Recipe Number 26:  Page 336.

Good Friday seems like the most appropriate time to make hot cross buns, not that you should ever need an excuse to make them! I will quite happily tuck into one from the bakery all year round. I kid myself that they are a relatively healthy treat as they contain a small amount of fat! I have never   made them before, due to the fact that I can buy such delicious buns fresh from the bakery. 

As I stayed with my family over Easter, it took me a few minutes to acclimatise myself to another kitchen. My mum had to help me find some of the things I would need and then I was left to get on with the job in hand. The first part was lovely and easy; measure the flour, sugar and spices into a bowl along with the all important yeast. I melted some butter and heated up the milk and water. I was so worried about getting the temperature right in case it affected the rising of the dough. I am used to testing my son's formula milk on my wrist and I found myself following this procedure!  The butter, combined milk and water are added to the flour. An egg, currants and mixed peel are added last of all. We couldn't get a tub of mixed peel at the shop, so I spent quite some time picking the required amount out of a bag of mixed fruit! I mixed everything together, finding the dough to be a little on the dry side and I really didn't need much flour at all on the worktop to knead the dough. I had to spend ten minutes kneading. As it was such a lovely hot day, and I had also made the mistake of wearing black, I was sweltering hot even before a minute had passed. It didn't take long for the slightly dry dough to transform into a smooth and elastic ball, the only issue being that  the currants kept escaping as I kneaded! Neil appeared as I was about to cross the finishing line; he felt the need to have a go! Maybe men feel that kneading dough is one of the more masculine jobs in baking?! The now very elastic dough went into an oiled bowl and I had to leave it for an hour and a half to rise. As the sun had certainly put its hat on all I needed to do was put the bowl in front of the window and very quickly the dough had doubled in size.

When working the dough for the second time, I found it even easier to deal with; it was most relaxing.  The next job was the fun part, shaping the dough into buns. The recipe was for 12 but Neil said I had to make a baker's dozen! I laid the buns out onto two baking trays, leaving plenty of room for them to rise and spread. This time they had to go into the airing cupboard for half an hour as the sun had gone in. Mary Berry gives the ingredients needed for shortcrust pastry if you want to give the buns the traditional cross. I felt I had to do this; to me it wouldn't be a hot cross bun without them.  So, while the buns were rising, I rubbed together some butter and flour. It felt way too soft and squidgy to me. I checked the ingredients; I had used double the amount of butter. I tutted to myself as I threw it away and started again. This time I managed to follow the instructions correctly! I added just a tiny bit of water, worked it together to form the pastry and rolled it out. I am delighted to announce that, after a lot of pointing and whispering, Mum finally had to give in to the shame and bought a rolling pin! So this time I didn't have to resort to using a milk bottle, hooray!

Once the buns had risen, I placed strips of pastry across each bun to form a cross and then off they went to the oven. I couldn't believe how quickly they cooked. I barely had time to make the sugar syrup. Straight out of the oven and straight on with the syrup. They looked great, the crosses and sticky syrup really made them look the part. The only problem came when cutting the buns in half as the crosses fell apart. 
Mmmmm fresh from the oven!
I received such lovely comments about these hot cross buns. Neil told me they were the best he had ever tasted and my dad said they were far nicer than the ones from the bakery. 

They took quite a time to make, but I am so pleased with them. The texture and flavour were spot on, perfect!

1 comment:

  1. Mmm, I would have loved to be in your kitchen while these baked. It must have smelled wonderful. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your buns up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/04/sweets-for-saturday-14_22.html

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