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  • Writer's pictureMartin Castle

Hot Cross Buns

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

Recipe for a strange Easter



Weather in NN still set fair. There's a growing sense in the village (remember we live out of the village with no pavements or pathways and almost in the next village) that there are too many wandering around when they should be inside and the police are encourage reporting if one is concerned. It's not snitching they say - but it is! Being a village I also bet there are some scores being settled - most will go back to the Doomsday Book by my reckoning.


Thus, the word of the day is quite apt - philoxenia - literally from Greek meaning friendship to strangers - kindness shown to people unknown.


I try to avoid watching/reading what Covid 19 might do to my body if I catch it but I was struck by a note from a nurse that shows the toll their work is taking on their mental well-being. Yes they are professionals but the human being can only be hidden under the cloak of professionalism for so long. Keep those working in ITU everywhere in your thoughts - it does make a difference that they know that is our response to their plight.


I will put up the no knead recipe we are using for our 'daily bread' but today's recipe is for hot cross buns. Once this was the Good Friday treat - now they are available from Boxing Day! Made fresh for Good Friday morning must be the rule for this year though I think.



Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients

For the buns

500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting

75g/2¾oz caster sugar

2 tsp mixed spice powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 lemon, finely grated zest only

10g/¼oz salt

10g/¼oz fast-action dried yeast

40g/1½oz butter

300ml/10fl oz milk

1 free-range egg, beaten

200g/7oz sultanas

50g/1¾oz finely chopped mixed candied peel

oil, for greasing

For the topping

75g/2¾oz plain flour

2 tbsp golden syrup, for glazing – if you like it sticky!

Method

1. Put the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl.


2. Melt the butter in a pan and warm the milk in a separate pan. Add the butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go. Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough (you may not need all of the milk).


3. Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand incorporating the sultanas and mixed peel into the dough. Lightly knead for 10 minutes until silky and elastic and forming a smooth ball. The kneading can also be done in a food mixer with a dough hook.


4. Oil a bowl and place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.

5. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and divide into 12 balls. Line 1-2 baking trays with paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.


6. Slip each baking tray into a large clean polythene bag, making sure the bag doesn’t touch the buns. Leave for 40-60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size.


7. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.


8. For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with 100ml/3½fl oz water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into the icing bag.


9. When the buns have risen remove the polythene bags and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays round halfway through if necessary.


10. Melt the golden syrup in a pan and while the buns are still warm, brush the buns with a little syrup to give a nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack.


11. Make sure you have plenty of butter to add to the buns. Do not add jam – it is not allowed.


Quote

"Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi

Quote

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”. - Julian of Norwich


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