Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter brunch with home made hot cross buns

For someone quite keen on baking (and perhaps that's an understatement), I had never made my own hot cross buns. No, that's not my atheism showing; I simply hadn't thought to make my own when there is a plethora of bakery and supermarket buns of offer each year that are generally decent quality, acceptable fare - especially once toasted and slathered in butter.

But this morning, with some friends coming over for brunch and little in the cupboard after I was again caught off guard by Good Friday's unnecessary trading laws* - I decided to bite the proverbial and give it a go. The only problem: the closest thing I had to sultanas was cranberries.

Like all good enterprising Generation Y cooks would do, I googled "cranberry hot cross bun recipe" and found this little gem (


1& ¼ cups (310ml) Milk
3/4 cup (165g)Caster sugar
2 x 7g sachets Dried yeast
4 1/3 cups (650g)Plain flour (plus extra for flouring your hands and surfaces)
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, ground
1/4 tsp Ginger, ground
1/4 tsp Cardamom, ground
1 cup (190g) Cranberries, dried
1 Egg, lightly beaten
100g Unsalted butter, melted, cooled
¼ tsp Salt

To make the buns

Gently stir the milk and 1/3 cup of sugar in a saucepan over low heat till it is lukewarm, then turn off heat. Stir in yeast, then stand on stovetop for 10 minutes or until mixture is foamy.

Sift 4 cups of flour, spices and 1/4 tsp salt together into a bowl. Stir in cranberries, add the yeast mixture, egg and butter and stir until the mixture forms a dough.

Flour a clean kitchen surface or chopping board (the surface is usually easier) and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place (not an oven!) for 1 hour or until doubled in size. NB - If you have a bread maker, follow the instructions for proofing to save time at this stage.

Divide dough into 16 pieces and shape into balls and place in a greased 23cm square cake tin. Cover with plastic wrap then stand in a warm place (not an oven) for 30 minutes or until it has risen level with the rim of the tin.

Preheat oven to 200°C while you make the icing. Stir remaining flour, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water together until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag then pipe crosses over buns.

Bake for 10 minutes at 200°C then reduce oven to 180°C and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and risen. Turn on to a wire rack to cool. Stir remaining 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tbsp water in a saucepan over low-medium heat until sugar dissolves then bring to the boil. Brush hot syrup over top of buns. Serve.

The verdict? Scoffs and smiles all round. Happy Easter, enjoy the long weekend!

* THAT'S my atheism showing.

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