The other day Miss F asked me why it is that Hot Cross buns are so cranky.
Fair comment really. And not one that reflects on my poor teachings of Bible fundamentals (I send them to scripture each week, after all). No, I’m going to cut myself a bit of slack here and blame the supermarkets for the collapse of Christian teachings in our society.
So maybe I never did mention the significance of the whole ‘cross’ thing on hot cross buns, but how on earth are my kids supposed to link these treats just to Easter when they’ve been on sale since last New Year’s Eve?
Still, I do like the idea of a fruit bun with attitude, don’t you? Just sitting with friends in a plastic bag, being angry and dour.
Of course I promised to rectify the situation and create some hot happy buns to balance out the emotional quid pro quo.
Hot Happy Buns
Don’t be afraid of cooking these – they actually really easy and fun. A nice thing to do throughout a weekend day with the kids.
1 ¼ cups warm milk
2 x 8g dry yeast sachets
¼ cup caster sugar
4 cups plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp salt
60g melted butter
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 cup sultanas
¾ cup other dried fruit (I like a mix of currants and dried apple)
4 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp boiling water
In a small glass bowl or jug, whisk together the warm milk, yeast and sugar. Leave for 10 minutes somewhere warm and draft-free.
In a large bowl, sift the flour and spices and add the salt. Mix lightly.
After 10 minutes the milk mixtures should be all weird and frothy (if it isn’t your yeast may be too old). Mix in the butter and egg. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix to form a dough.
Turn out on a floured surface and knead for five minutes. (See a ‘how to’ video here). As you go, add in the fruit until it is all evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Place into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave somewhere warm and draft-free for ¾-1 hour until doubled in size.
Grease a large rectangular baking tin. Punch the dough (yes, truly, punch it) to deflate it. Knead for another 2-3 minutes. Divide into 15 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and pop it into the tin.
Cover, return to your warm spot and leave for 30-40 minutes until they’ve plumped up again. Preheat your oven to 200C.
In a small bowl or mug, stir the flour paste with water. Scoop into a plastic bag, snip off a tiny hole in the corner and pipe a face onto each bun.
Cook for 10 minutes at 200C then reduce to 180C and cook for another 15 minutes.
Turn them out after cooking and immediately glaze by brushing them with the combined caster sugar & boiling water.
MAKES 15 delicious, gorgeously home-made buns.