HOT CROSS BUNS RECIPE
There are some special foods eaten at Easter time, one of the most famous are Hot Cross Buns. The tradition allegedly is derived from ancient Anglo-Saxons who baked small wheat cakes in honor of the springtime goddess, Eostre.
Hot Cross Buns are yeast dough buns with currants and raisins in them. They were eaten all year round in pagan, pre-Christian times; the bun represented the moon and the four quarters, the four seasons. Christians took over this yummy tradition and changed the meaning so the cross represented the cross that Jesus died on
Here’s a recipe for Hot Cross Buns:
- 450 g strong white flour
- 150 ml milk
- 4 tablespoons water
- 25 g fresh yeast or
- 15 g dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 50 g caster sugar
- 50 g butter or margarine
- 1 egg, beaten
- 100 g currants
- 40 g chopped mixed peel
- 50 g Plain Shortcrust Pastry (see below)
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (for the crosses):
- 50 g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 11 g butter
- 11 g lard or vegetable shortening
- 11 g caster sugar
- 1/2 egg yolk
- a little water
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the fat into the flour and rub into a breadcrumb consistency. Mix in the sugar. Beat the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons water and stir in to bind to fairly firm dough, adding a little more water as necessary. Knead lightly until smooth but do not overwork it. Leave to rest in the refrigerator or cool place for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
- Put 100 g / 4 oz of the flour into a small bowl. Warm the milk and water, then blend in the yeast and the teaspoon of sugar. Mix this into the flour and leave in a froth for about 15 minutes for fresh yeast, about 20 minutes for dried.
- Meanwhile, sift the remaining flour, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar into a mixing bowl. Melt and cool the butter, but do not allow hardening, and then adding it to the frothy yeast mixture with the beaten egg. Stir this into the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. Scatter in the currants and mixed peel and mix into a fairly soft dough. Add a spoonful of water if necessary.
- Turn the dough on to a floured board and knead well. Put into an oiled polythene bag and leave to rise until doubled in bulk, (1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature). Turn on to a floured board and knock back the dough. Divide into 12 pieces and shape into small round buns. Press down briefly on each bun with the palm of the hand, then place the buns well apart on a floured baking sheet. Cover and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (20 to 30 minutes). Meanwhile, roll out the pastry thinly and cut into 24 thin strips about 9 cm / 3 1/2 inches long.
- When the buns have risen, damp the pastry strips and lay 2 strips across each bun to make a cross. Bake the buns in a preheated moderately hot oven at 190°C/375°F, Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch.
- Meanwhile, make the glaze by dissolving the sugar in the milk and water over a low heat. When the buns are ready brush them twice with the glaze.