Happy Good Friday! Or is that Happy Hot Cross Bun day?
Good Friday is traditionally the day to eat hot cross buns…… a sweet, spiced, fruity bread bun marked with a cross on the top and coated in a sugar glaze. When I was a child, Good Friday was the only day to eat Hot Cross Buns and they were always synonymous with the start of the Easter celebrations. They were something to look forward to……. cut…… toasted…… warm…….. slathered in fresh melting butter which dribbled invitingly down the sides of the bun (and usually down your chin with each excited bite).
These days, it seems you can get Hot Cross Buns for several months of the year and the anticipation of waiting for the special moment to devour them has all but gone. You can also get them in a whole variety of flavours from traditional dried fruit and its many fruity variations through to chocolate or toffee.
Personally I don’t really like mixed peel and I’m not over-keen on raisins, but I do like sultanas and cherries and apple, so I thought I would combine these and test out my first ever Hot Cross Buns.
I’m not sure why I have never made them before, because I love eating them. It took me three recipe variations before I was happy with the result you see here. Hot Cross Buns should (in my experience) be a little bit heavy, yet reasonably airy, with a slightly denser chew. The first ones I made were too light and a little dry. The next were too stodgy. This 3rd test hit the mark……. freshly made this morning to enjoy on the right day!
These buns are laden with fruit (including some Morello glace cherries), laced with plenty of cinnamon, a little ginger, a splash and a grate of orange and are sweetened with honey. Coated with a brown sugar glaze, they are a good, comparable gluten free alternative for those of us who can’t (or don’t) eat gluten. They taste wonderful straight from the oven and stay soft and moist well after cooling. Eat them straight or toast in the traditional way……. The perfect Easter treat!
Some of the batch were baked as individual buns, and some as a Hot Cross Bun round. The buns in the ’round’ stuck together well as they rose and peeled apart perfectly after baking. Actually I preferred them this way as the sides seemed softer and fluffier than those that were exposed entirely to the heat of the oven. If you prefer a crisper edge, just go with the ordinary spaced apart baking method.
I ate mine with an amazing zesty, fruity citrus curd that I made to get rid of some fruit which needed to be used (recipe to be posted soon). Delicious!
I am offering my lovely buns to share with :
Treat Petite with Kat at The Baking Explorer (and Cakeyboi), who have set the theme this month as ‘Hello Spring’. Easter always marks the start of Spring for me, so a bun dedicated to such a major Spring festival seems appropriate.
The FoodYearLinkup with My Recipe Book
Hot Cross Buns (Apple, Cherry & Sultana) (makes about 25 buns)
½ teaspoon modified tapioca starch (Isabel’s Baking Fix/Expandex)
- Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
- Mix together the flours, xanthan gum, modified tapioca starch, spices and salt, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the warm milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon honey and leave for 10 minutes to activate and froth.
- In a separate medium-sized glass heat-proof bowl, melt the butter with the honey in the microwave on medium setting (30 second bursts, stirring between each) and whisk to combine. (or you can heat gently in a small saucepan and then transfer to a bowl once melted)
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly, before whisking in the eggs one at a time.
- Pour the butter mixture onto the yeast-milk mixture and whisk together.
- Add and stir in the zest, orange extract and dried fruit.
- Add the flour mix and fold to combine until you have a sticky, even dough.
- Rub a little olive oil onto your hands and take a small piece of dough and roll into a ball (about 6 cm/2½ inches in diameter). Place on the baking sheet.
- Repeat the rolling process (intermittently re-oiling your hands) until all of the dough is used.
- Use a lightly greased knife to gently score a cross in the top of each bun.
- Cover lightly with a piece of cling film, place the trays in a warm place and leave the dough to rise for about 50 to 60 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
- When risen, make a smooth flour paste by mixing the flour and water together.
- Pipe a cross onto the top of each bun (following the score line)
- Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Whilst baking, make the glaze by mixing the sugar and water and heating either in a small saucepan or in a bowl in the microwave to dissolve and blend.
- Remove the buns from the oven and brush each with a good coating of sugar glaze before placing on a wire rack to cool.
- Delicious warm, cold or toasted!