After suffering the family ridicule that resulted from my foray into the Easter bun world with ‘Hot Cross Rocks’ when I was about 12, I have been determined to create the fluffiest, softest bun that a non-commercial kitchen with a lack of chemical rising agents can produce. And these are just the numbers.
Hot Cross Buns
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 cloves
- 5 cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon tea leaves
- 4 teaspoons (14g) dry yeast
- 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
- 4 cups (600g) plain flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 100g butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1 cup (160g) sultanas or currants
- 3 eggs
- 2-4 tablespoons warm water, approximately
Flour paste for crosses
- 2/3 cup plain flour
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar
- 80ml cold water, approximately
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons sugar
Combine milk, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, nutmeg, tea and orange zest in saucepan. Bring to boil then remove from heat and allow to infuse for an hour.
Strain, then bring back up to lukewarm temperature (too hot or cold will kill the yeast!). Whisk in yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Cover the bowl and stand in a warm place for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter. Stir in the remaining sugar, fruit, yeast mixture, 2 whisked eggs and enough water to make a soft dough.
Bring to a ball, turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place ball in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap and allow to stand in a warm place for about 1-2 hours, or until mixture is doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced).
Punch down the dough and knead gently for a minute until smooth. Divide the dough into 20 portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
Combine remaining egg with a tablespoon of water and whisk together.
Place the balls, almost touching, on a large greased oven tray, then stand in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until balls have about doubled in size.
Brush with eggwash, top with crosses and put in the oven to bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until buns are golden and sound hollow when tapped.
Sift flour and sugar into a small bowl. Whisk in enough water to make a smooth thick paste. Place the paste into a piping bag or zip lock plastic bag and snip a tiny piece off one corner.
Combine all ingredients in a small pan and stir over low heat, until the sugar has dissolved.
Transfer the buns to a wire rack and brush the tops with the glaze.
Eat immediately with a lot of butter and cup of tea. Repeat.