Faith, Food

Happy Easter and Hot Cross Buns

Does writing this post whilst sitting in the passenger seat of a car make me a real blogger? Or just an obsessed blogger who doesn’t know when to let go and enjoy the weekend sunshine? I’ll be doing that in a minute but I first wanted to post something for Easter. Although I think it is important to remember Christ’s death and resurrection all year round, I do like taking time out during the year specifically to spend time focusing on it. I’m currently rereading a book called What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey, which is a timely reminder of God’s amazing grace – such an integral part of what Easter celebrates.

Every year I’ve meant to try making my own hot cross buns and I finally got round to doing so this Easter. Part of the motivation, I must confess, was this blog – an Easter recipe just seemed appropriate and almost necessary. My first attempt at these did not go well and the hot cross buns were doughy and not all that nice texture-wise, although the flavour was good, which is why I didn’t post this recipe on Good Friday as I had originally planned to. My excuse for not posting this recipe yesterday is technical difficulties. Today, hopefully, things will work more efficiently (both me and the computer…) My second attempt at hot cross buns, which entailed various modifications on my first experimental go, turned out pretty well and I think I may just have started an Easter tradition of making our own. The true test of how good they are will come this afternoon when people other than J might taste them. Don’t be put off by the double-rising – these hot cross buns actually need very little hands-on time.

I hope you all have a happy Easter celebrating Christ, the risen Lord.

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What you’ll need:

3 cups plain flour

Pinch salt

1 ½ cups dried mixed fruit

¼ cup castor sugar

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons ground mixed spice

1 package fast action yeast

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter

For the top of each hot cross bun you’ll also need:

½ cup flour

3-4 tablespoons cold water

Additional milk to brush over hot cross buns before they go into the oven

What to do:

1. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, spices and dried mixed fruit.

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2. Put half the milk (1/2 cup) in a saucepan with the butter and bring to boiling point, stirring gently to ensure that all the butter has melted.

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3. Pour the milk and butter back into the measuring cup and fill to the top with cold milk.

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4. Add the milk/butter to the flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for one to two hours.

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5. When the dough has risen, knead it on a lightly floured surface for a couple of minutes. Divide the dough into twelve and roll each piece into a ball. Place all the balls on a greased baking tray and cover with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for one to two hours again.

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6. When the hot cross buns have risen, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5. Mark a cross shape on the top of each bun with a butter knife and brush the tops of them with milk.

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7. Mix the ½ cup of flour with 3 tablespoons of cold water and mix thoroughly. Slowly add a little more water if needed to bring the flour and water mixture to an easy consistency for piping. Pour the flour and water mixture into a freezer bag and cut a small hole in one corner, and then pipe crosses onto the top of each bun.

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8. Bake the hot cross buns in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes to half an hour, or until browned on top and cooked. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack before tucking in.

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