Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns can be enjoyed at any time of the year, although they originated as an Easter treat normally eaten on Good Friday. The cross is generally accepted as representing the crucifixion, but there is evidence that the Saxons ate buns marked with a cross in honour of the goddess Eostre in springtime - the four quarters representing the quarters of the moon.
You can adjust the spice mix depending on what you have to hand, but this mixture is my particular favourite! Makes 12 large buns or 16 smaller ones.
I recommend using parchment paper or Silpat sheets rather than greasing the baking pans.
Hot Cross Buns Recipe:
Combine the milk with the melted butter, add half of the sugar and the dried yeast.
Stir to combine and set aside (covered) in a warm place until it has started to bubble. (about 20 minutes)
Whisk the eggs lightly to combine.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, ground spices, salt and remaining sugar.
Make a well in the centre and add all the liquid ingredients.
Combine by gradually stirring in the flour from the edges and then start to knead until it starts to form a mass.
Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead, using as little additional flour as possible.
Knead for about 12 - 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Flatten the dough out and spread with the dried fruit(s).
Roll up and continue to knead until the fruit is evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and allow to rise for an hour or so covered, until doubled in volume.
Place liquid ingredients into the bread-pan first, followed by combined dry ingredients and finally the yeast.
Set machine for white bread, large loaf and select 'dough'.
Add the dried fruits when prompted by the machine (about half way through kneading)
Allow to rise in the machine until dough reaches the top of the bread-pan.
Make the pastry by cutting the butter into the flour and salt. Add enough water to combine to a dough and refrigerate until needed.
Transfer the bread dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently.
Divide into twelve or sixteen and form each portion into a flattened ball.
Place on two greased baking sheets and allow to rise for a further 60 - 90 minutes, covered with a clean tea towel until the buns have risen.
Brush the buns with the egg and milk glaze and then add two pastry strips to each bun to make the cross, trimming them to be level with the bottom of the buns.
Bake each tray separately at 375°F or 190°C for 20 - 25 minutes.
If desired, drizzle with the icing mixture after the buns have cooled.
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