I think in our busy lives, jam-packed full of activity, food traditions are at risk of getting lost. So many years ago I decided to start a new food tradition in our family – making hot cross buns on Good Friday.
My girls were younger then so were around to enjoy the tradition and I hope they will always be able to lovingly recall the heady waft of cinnamon and mixed spice filling the kitchen.
I remember cutting out this recipe from the The Age’s Epicure section and it is with joy I pass it on to you today so you can also share in the magic.
I know you can buy hot cross buns in every supermarket and bakery. But you can’t buy the tradition… the family experience of nurturing foaming yeast, the therapeutic process of kneading dough and the anticipation of waiting for the dough to rise. Then there is the fun of shaping the buns and piping the crosses. But most of all the joy of making your own hot cross buns is that unmistakable aroma that fills the air once they hit the oven – a guarantee that will have the whole family hovering around the kitchen in anticipation.
Hot Cross Buns
Makes 12 buns
2 tbsp dry yeast
¼ cup castor sugar
1 ½ cups warm milk
4 cups plain flour (I use spelt flour)
2 tsp mixed spice
85g butter, melted
1/3 cup castor sugar
1 ½ cups sultanas
1/3 cup mixed peel, optional
For the crosses
½ cup plain flour
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp gelatine
2 tbsp water
Step 1: Place yeast, sugar and milk into a bowl and set aside. The mixture should start to foam if the yeast is active
Step 2: Add the flour, spice, cinnamon, butter, egg, extra sugar, sultanas, and mixed peel. Mix with a butter knife until a soft dough forms
Step 3: Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes or until the dough feels smooth and elastic when pressed
Step 4: Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Stand in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size
Step 5: Knead the dough again – just quickly. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Place the dough balls into a greased or lined 23cm square tin. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place until they have doubled in size.
Step 6: Mix the flour and water and place in a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe crosses over the buns. Bake in a preheated 200C oven for 20 minutes or until brown and springy to touch. Turn buns on to a wire rack.
Step 7: While the buns are cooking, make the glaze by placing the sugar, gelatine and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat for 2 minutes or until gelatine has dissolved. Brush buns with the glaze while they are still warm.
Serve warm with butter and enjoy!
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