Deep breathe. Term one is over and I have one very tired 5 year old, one sick 7 year old and one recovering 9 year old. We have made it to the holidays so I can breathe a sigh of relief and we can take it easy for the next couple of weeks.
There are so many things at this time of year that I look forward to. The cool change in the air is very welcome. After hot summers the slightly cooler weather makes everything look so much more inviting – picnics, baking, cups of tea, going for walks. I also look forward to Easter, birthdays and all the foodie magazines that are filled with menu ideas for the Easter weekend and loads of chocolate recipes. Bliss.
To kick this Easter off I have finally got a good recipe for Hot Cross Buns in my repertoire thanks to Julie Goodwin’s latest book ‘The Heart Of The Home’. It is fairly straightforward and doesn’t require a huge amount of time kneading or rising. I can have a batch done in 2 hours and most of that time is the rising and the baking. They are light and fluffy with the perfect amount of spices and sweetness.
I don’t think I will ever buy Hot Cross Buns again. I cannot fault this recipe and to pull a hot batch out of your own oven is intoxicating. They just need to be glazed and then the kettle can go on. Elliott has helped me make several batches over the last few weeks and we have loved the baking and the eating. We even made a Chocolate Chip version which the kids thought were spectacular. But even the kids who don’t know normally like sultanas in hot cross buns loved them in the home made version.
After such a busy term it will be nice to bake a few more batches over the holidays, make a pot of tea and catch up with friends. The perfect time of year to pull out the chook tea cosy!
hot cross buns
(a slight variation of Julie Goodwin’s recipe from ‘The Heart Of The Home’)
1 1/4 cups (310ml) milk
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
16g dried yeast
4 cups (600ml) plain flour (I use unbleached bakers flour)
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon salt
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (250g) sultanas
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (40g) self-raising flour
2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/3 teaspoon gelatine
Warm up the milk then stir in the sugar and yeast then set aside for 5 – 10 minutes or until it froths up.
Place the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt in a large bowl and whisk together briefly. Add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips. Mix through the sultanas and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast mixture and the eggs. Stir together with a woooden spoon then tip out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm room for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for just a minute then divide up into individual sized buns. The recipe suggest it makes a dozen but I make 16 smaller buns which is perfect. Form each piece into a nice round bun and place on a lined baking tray. Arrange them in lines and keep the buns fairly close to each other. Cover with a clean towel and leave them for 15 minutes.
Mix the self-raising flour in a small bowl with a couple of tablespoons of water. Place in a little plastic bag, snip a tiny piece out of a bottom corner and pipe this paste on the buns to form a cross on each one. Pop the buns in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked and sound hollow when tapped.
To make the glaze, dissolve the sugar and gelatine in the hot water and use a pastry brush to brush over the top of the hot buns. Leave for 5 minutes to allow the glaze to set and then serve.