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HotCrossBuns-IMG_0356-April2014_web

Easter’s only around the corner! Check out these hot cross buns for a great Easter breakfast centrepiece.

I made these on a rainy afternoon whilst the family and I were on a little Easter break in Skipton at the weekend.  I nipped to the shops to buy the ingredients, not thinking for one minute about what equipment was available in the apartment kitchen…….
Have you ever tried baking in a holiday apartment? My first major hurdle….. no scales! argh! I pretty much made educated guesses using teacups.  I also had no measuring jug, pastry brush or baking tray….

I did surprisingly find a zester though hooray!

HotCrossBuns-IMG_0365-April2014_web

I ended up using pizza tray to bake the buns on – which gave me the idea to set these out a bit like a spider’s web.

Hot Cross Buns with Marmalade Glaze (makes 19 buns)
Ingredients:

  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 5g salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 7g sachet instant dried yeast
  • 300ml full-fat milk
  • 50g butter
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 150g sultanas
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • olive oil for kneading

For the crosses:

  • 3 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • cold water

For the glaze:

  • 3 heaped tbsp marmalade

Method:

  1. In a large bowl add the flour and sugar, then on one side of the bowl add the salt, and add the yeast to the other side (yeast doesn’t like direct contact with salt).  Set aside.
  2. In a jug, add the milk, butter and orange zest, and heat in the microwave until the butter has melted and the liquid is hot, but not so hot it would burn you.  Add the liquid to the flour mixture, then give it a stir with a wooden spoon and add in the egg.  Give it all a good mix with your hands and then tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for about 5 or 6 minutes.  Gather the dough into a ball and place in a bowl that’s been lightly greased with olive or vegetable oil.  Cover with clingfilm and leave to prove in a warm room for an hour.
  3. After the hour is up, add the sultanas and sprinkle the cinnamon over the dough.  Tip the dough onto a lightly flour surface and knead the sultanas and cinnamon in for a minute or two until it’s fully mixed together.  Place back in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for another hour.
  4. Tip the dough out on a lightly floured surface and divide into 19 equal (ish) pieces.  You can do this by eye (as I did due to lack of scales!), or you can weigh the dough and divide by 19 – weighing each piece and adjusting as you cut it.  Shape each piece into a ball and arrange on a tray that’s been covered with a piece of baking parchment.  I arranged it so there was a vertical line of 5 down the middle, then a vertical line of 4 either side, then finally a vertical line of 3 on the outsides.  This makes two rough circles surrounding the centre bun.  Arrange the balls so they’re about a centimetre apart (They’ll start to join up with the final prove and also during baking).  Place the baking try inside a carrier bag and leave to prove for one final hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200c.  Make up the paste for the crosses.  In a bowl, mix the flour with about 5 tbsps of cold water using a fork.  You’re looking for paste about the consistency of wallpaper paste, so may need to add a bit more flour or water.  Spoon into a piping bag with a small round nozzle (or a plastic sandwich bag with a tiny hole in the corner) and draw the crosses on the buns.  Looking back, I think i’d have found it easier to to do one long vertical line down the centre line each of the 5 lines of buns.  Then do the horizontal line on the centre bun, then follow the circle around to complete the crosses on the inner circle, and do the same again with the outside circle.  As you can see, mine are a bit more higgledy piggledy than that! Place in the oven and cook for 20 mins.
  6. Take out of the oven, then glaze whilst still hot (this helps to ensure the buns stay soft on top).  Heat the marmalade in a small pan or very carefully in a microwave until runny.  You can sieve the marmalade if you want it completely lump free, but I prefer the rustic look without sieving. Spread the marmalade all over the tops and sides of the buns with a pastry brush.
  7. Serve as they are, or toasted (just toast on the inside as the marmalade burns very easily) and spread with butter.

HotCrossBuns-IMG_0386-April2014_web