Hot Cross Buns
Good Friday is fast approaching and despite the wide range of hot cross buns available in the shops including toffee, orange, cranberry, apple and cinnamon, I think you can’t go wrong in making your own, traditional in my eyes are the best.
Did you know? Originally all cakes and breads were marked with a cross as it was said to ward off evil spirits, which could make them go mouldy and stale. Nowadays the cross is a symbol of the crucifixion. It is also believed the tradition dates back to the 1600s when Good Friday buns (which they were called then) were eaten for breakfast on Good Friday morning.
I plan to be following Delia Smith's recipe, found below:
50g caster sugar, plus 1 level teaspoon
1 level tablespoon dried yeast
450g plain flour
1 level teaspoon salt
1 rounded teaspoon mixed spice
50g mix peel
40-55ml warmed milk
1 egg, beaten
Stir the teaspoon of caster sugar into 150 ml hand-hot water, then sprinkle in the dried yeast and leave it until a good frothy 'beer' head forms.
Meanwhile sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a mixing bowl and add the remaining 50 g of sugar, the currants and mixed peel. Make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture plus 40 ml of milk, the beaten egg and the melted butter. Now mix it to a dough, starting with a wooden spoon and finishing with your hands (add a spot more milk if it needs it).
Transfer the dough on to a clean surface and knead it until it feels smooth and elastic – about 6 minutes. Now pop it back into the bowl, cover the bowl with a lightly oiled plastic bag, and leave it in a warm place to rise – it will take about an hour to double its original size. Then turn it out and knead it again, back down to its original size.
Divide the mixture into 12 round portions, arrange them on the greased sheet, and make a deep cross on each one with a sharp knife. Leave them to rise once more, covering again with the oiled polythene bag, for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 220°C
Bake the buns for about 15 minutes. Then, while they're cooking, melt the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water for the glaze over a gentle heat and brush the buns with it as soon as they come out of the oven, to make them nice and sticky.
Allow to cool slightly, then enjoy!