Hot Cross Buns


 
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It's almost Easter! Which means that, by default, the weather is obliged to sort its shit out and give us something that resembles spring. It also means allll of the easter foods! In America I have learnt that this means marshmallow peeps, cadbury mini eggs, and colouring actual chicken eggs (feel free to correct me if i'm wrong here, i'm just going off what I've seen!). In New Zealand, it is all chocolate eggs of all kinds, chocolate bunnies, and hot cross buns! Hot cross buns are the taste of most people's childhood back home. I also have grand plans to put together some sort of easter box - I have loads of easter egg moulds, so watch this space. It's likely to get messy.

There are loads of different variations - they are sometimes done with chocolate, or with mixed fruit. I prefer the ones without the mixed peel in them, so have left it out for this recipe too, but go for it an add it in if you want! These can be made in a morning - the proof time is about two hours total, so perfect for morning tea, or a late breakfast. They are also awesome the next day for breakfast, warmed up in the microwave and loaded up with butter. 

Big ups to my friend Lisa for letting me snake her pastry school recipe - the measurements for this recipe are in grams, which I honestly prefer. If you haven't gotten one already, a scale is probably one of the best $30 investments you can make in your kitchen. I halved the original recipe, so if you wanted extra bunz, by all mean double it!

The crosses for these are a choux pastry. I probably didn't thin mine out enough so they didn't turn out quite as well as they could have, so make sure they are a nice pipeable consistency! 

Ps: I had issues finding both sultanas and mixed spice here in NYC, so used flamed raisins in the place of sultanas, and made my own mixed spice using this recipe (I omitted the mace). 

 

 

Hot Cross Buns
- Makes 8 buns -

Buns
360g (2 1/2 cups) bread flour
40g (3 Tbsp) sugar
22g (2 Tbsp) active dry yeast
90g (90ml) lukewarm water
90g (90ml) lukewarm milk
7g (1/2 tsp) salt
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
100g Raisins or Sultanas
45g dried currants

Crosses
50g (50ml) water
20g unsalted butter
pinch salt
pinch sugar
30g all-purpose flour
Enough milk to mix to a pipeable consistency. 

Simple Syrup
1/4 cup (60ml) water
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
 

- PROCESS -

BUNS

In a medium bowl, combine milk, water, 2 Tbsp sugar and yeast. Stir well, and leave for 5 minutes until foamy. 

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, or in a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, spices, and the remaining 1 Tbsp of sugar. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes. Add the yeast mixture, and mix on low for 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl and hook as required. Add the butter, and mix for a further 10 minutes on low, until the dough is soft and smooth. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead the fruit in by hand. 

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draught-free place until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. 

Knock back the dough, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. (I weigh the dough, and then divide the total weight by 8). Roll into balls, and arrange in a lightly greased baking dish, leaving a little room between each. If I am using a rectangular dish I tend to make 8 rolls, whereas if I am using a square tin I generally make 9. Lightly cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place for approximately an hour, until almost doubled in size, and the dough springs back slightly when poked with your finger. 

Preheat the oven to 220˚c / 430˚f. Pipe crosses onto the buns. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden. While the buns are baking, combine the water, sugar, and vanilla bean paste if using in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Using a pastry brush, glaze the buns with the syrup immediately after removing from the oven. 

CROSSES

In a small saucepan, heat the water, salt, sugar, and butter until it comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour, and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and coming away from the edges. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until it reaches a pipeable consistency. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip, or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off.