Good morning everyone, I’m back on the rightly scheduled blog day! Hope you’re all doing ok, I sadly can’t say the same for my family and I, as the cream I was given to help my ankle caused a reaction to my skin and made my foot go weird, so I’m going to have to try and make an appointment with my Doctor to see if there is anything else I can do to get it sorted. Another thing thats happened thats come at a really bad time is our car has stopped working altogether now, which is not great for my dads line of work as being a courier, he needs a car to be able to do his job. I will say there has been one good thing to come from this past week, my sister told us that my little nephew took his first steps on Monday! Which made me think he’s growing up so fast, it only seems like yesterday he was a tiny baby who liked to drool all over your fingers 😀 anyway, lets get on with today’s post…
Have you ever made hot cross buns? They’re an Easter tradition, a soft, slightly sweet, spiced yeast roll speckled with currants and often candied citron. In Ireland, the UK, and as far abroad as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and India, Hot Cross Buns are eaten every Good Friday in Christian communities. They are symbolic of this significant day in the Christian faith when Jesus was crucified. Each bun is decorated with a cross made from flour paste, which represents the cross on which Christ died. The spices in hot cross buns are said to represent the spices that were used to embalm Christ after his death.
One old belief says that if you bake your Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday, they won’t go moldy during the following year. Another tradition states that a hot cross bun was always kept from the batch baked on Good Friday, in case anyone in the family became ill during the next year. A small piece of the bun would be broken off to feed the patient. These buns had extremely holy connotations and were believed to be able to cure all ills, including the most dreadful diseases. Hot Cross Buns are inextricably linked to Easter and to Christianity. ‘Cross Buns’ were baked to celebrate Eostre, a Germanic Goddess of Fertility, after which the season of Easter is said to be named. Cross Buns were baked for the spring festival to celebrate this Goddess. The four quarters of the cross on top of each bun were said to represent the phases of the moon, while the cross itself symbolized rebirth after winter. Whichever theory you wish to attach to your Hot Cross Buns, we can all agree these are the seasonal treat of the holidays.
Hot Cross Buns
For the buns
300ml Full-Fat Milk, (plus 2 tbsp more)
500g Strong Bread Flour
1 tsp Salt
75g Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Sunflower Oil
7g Sachet Fast-Action or Easy-Blend Yeast
1 Egg, (beaten)
50g Mixed Peel
Zest 1 Orange
1 Apple, (peeled, cored, and finely chopped)
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
For the cross
75g Plain Flour, (plus extra for dusting)
For the glaze
3 tbsp Apricot Jam
Bring 300ml full-fat milk to a boil, then remove from the heat and add 50g butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature.
Put 500g strong bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 75g caster sugar, and 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast into a bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add 1 beaten egg.
Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heel of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic.
Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
With the dough still in the bowl, tip in 75g sultanas, 50g mixed peel, zest of 1 orange, 1 finely chopped apple, and 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough from getting a crust.
Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface.
Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix 75g plain flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
Gently heat 3 tbsp apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.
Typically best eaten whilst they are still warm, with a spread of butter. Or add jam for an extra fruity taste. It is up to you how you eat your hot cross bun. They can also be stored in either a food bag or a lidded plastic container for up to 4 days at room temperature. Or you can freeze them for up to a month. (Just don’t forget to defrost them at room temperature if you do). Enjoy!
Hot Cross Buns are perfect for Easter, but many people love to have them all year round! Not only do they make a sweet bread breakfast treat, but they are also great for packed lunches or after-school snacks too!
Thank you for visiting my blog and reading today’s post, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week and have a great Easter weekend! Until next Wednesday…