Hot cross buns- the food that can send a warm, spicy feeling through your insides on those cold winter when trees threaten to scrape against your windows outside.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes 1 hour rising time
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 9-12 servings (depending on bun size)
Ingredients 2X7g (1/4 oz) sachets of dried yeast
4 cups (500g or 1lb) of white bread flour
¼ cup of caster sugar
2 teaspoons of mixed spice
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
40g (1 ¼ oz) of butter, softened
1 ½ cups of sultanas
For the Crosses:
½ cup (30g or 1oz) of plain flour
¼ cup of caster sugar
For the Glaze:
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
2 teaspoons of gelatine
Place the yeast, one tablespoon of the flour, three teaspoons of the sugar and ½ cup (125ml or 4fl oz) of warm water in a jug and stir to combine.
Leave the jug in a warm place for approximately ten minutes. The mixture should double in size, become frothy and have bubbles appear on its surface.
Whilst the yeast mixture is foaming, sift the remaining flour and spices into a large bowl; stir in the sugar.
Cut the softened butter into rough cubes and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips.
Add the sultanas to the flour mixture and stir so that they’re evenly spread through.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the yeast mixture along with approximately 1 cup of warm water.
Now mix the water and the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients – beginning by stirring with a wooden spoon, and then by using your lightly floured hands when the dough starts to take shape and form a ball.
Once all of the mixture has become a part of the dough ball (there should be no annoying floury bits on the bottom of the bowl), turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough until smooth (add more flour if it appears to be too sticky).
Place the dough ball back into the large bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Then leave in a warm place for forty minutes so that it can double in size.
Once it’s risen, turn the dough out onto a flat, lightly floured surface and punch it down gently with your closed fist to allow the air to escape.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (400°F/gas 6).
Melt some butter and with it lightly grease a baking tray.
Pull a piece of dough from the ball (about half a tennis ball in size), shape it into a smaller ball, and place it onto the greased tray.
Repeat step 13 for the remainder of the dough, but place the balls onto the tray so that they’re lightly touching. When you’re finished the balls on your tray should resemble a tight-knit rectangle.
Cover the tray with a damp tea towel and leave it in a warm place for approximately twenty minutes to allow the balls to double in size.
When there is five minutes left of the above twenty minutes you can make the crosses. Combine the flour and sugar in a small bowl and add enough water so that it forms a smooth paste when stirred (you should need no more than three tablespoons).
Spoon the crosses mixture into a piping bag and pipe crosses over the tops of the risen buns (it should be noted that I rarely use a piping bag- I usually just blob some of the mixture on top of each bun with a teaspoon).
Bake the buns in the preheated oven for twenty minutes or until they‘re bottoms feel firm and they’re surfaces are browned.
When there is five minutes remaining of the above twenty minutes you can make the glaze. Place the sugar, gelatine and one tablespoon of water in a cup/pot, and heat in the microwave/on the stove until each of the powders have dissolved.
Using a cooking brush paint the piping hot buns with the glaze and consume immediately.
NOTE: These buns are best when eaten warm and fresh, but if necessary they can keep for up to a week in an airtight container.