It's the long weekend of Easter break and I decided to share my recipe for my hot cross buns. These buns are by far, the best I've ever had or made. In the past, every time I deal with bread doughs, most of the time they aren't even remotely close to being good. But this Good Friday, I think I scored they most perfect buns.
I'm not sure if it's the outcome of me having grown as a pastry chef or if it's just pure luck but I thought I'd share this splendid recipe with you guys. Forget Easter, I would have these buns everyday. Even for Christmas because all that spice and assorted dried fruits in it just screams it.
I was slightly floored while making these hot cross buns because they really could not be any easier. Everything was just mix and knead, proof, shape and proof again, bake. The texture that came out of it was soft, moist, fluffy and what I love about it is that it's so heavily studded with dried fruits that with every bite you take comes a natural sweetness and texture that pairs so wonderfully with the spices in the buns. I adore breads with a hundred and one things in it, from grains, to seeds and dried fruits so naturally, I up-ed the amount of dried fruits in my buns and used an assortment of apricots, cranberries and dark raisins.
Oh sweet Jesus. And that shiny orange glaze.
I still remember just 3 - 4 years back when I was still at the start of my career as a pastry chef, I tested countless of hot cross buns and none came out how I wanted them to be. They were hard, unflavourful and dry. It's a really beautiful feeling to realize how far one has come over the years. Sure, it takes time, but we all get there eventually.
I promise you that this recipe delivers and it will make your future easters and life a much better one. It's that rocking. ;)
Happy Easter to one and all.
Hot Cross Buns:
(adaped from Simply Recipes)
active dry yeast - 2 1/2 teaspoons
warm milk - 3/4 cup
all purpose flour - 3 1/4 cups
caster sugar - 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon
mixed spices - 2 teaspoons (I did slight heaping 3/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
salt - 1 teaspoon
unsalted butter - 4 tablespoons
eggs (r.t.p) - 2 no.
mixed dried fruits - 3/4 cup (I had slightly more apricots than raisins and cranberries)
orange zest - 2 teaspoons (optional)
For the cross:
flour - 4 tablespoons
water - 2 tablespoons
For the orange sugar glaze:
juice of orange - 1 no.
sugar - 60g
water - 60g
orange essence - 1/4 teaspoon
For the egg wash:
egg - 1 no.
milk - 1 tablespoon
Prepare the sugar glaze by boiling the sugar and water till you get a clear substance. Add in the juice and essence and set aside to cool.
In a bowl, stir 1/4 of the warm milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar together to dissolve. Add in the yeast and leave for 5 - 10 minutes till foamy.
Mix 3 cups of flour, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, spices and salt together till homoegenous.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the foamy yeast mixture, the remaining milk, the eggs, and butter and paddle on low speed till well combined. Add in the dried fruits and zest if using.
Change to a hook attachment and mix on low speed till the dough develops some body. Add in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour till you get a slightly sticky dough. However, it should not be too sticky that you cannot work with it. You may not need to use all of the 1/4 cup of flour.
Form into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl and clingwrap loosely. Leave to proof in a warm place for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours or till doubled in size.
Gently knock the air out and divide the buns into 16 equal portions. Each dough of mine weighed about 68g. Form each dough into balls, place on a baking sheet and leave to proof for an additional 30 - 40 minutes till doubled in size again.
While it is proofing, mix your flour and water mixture together till you get a thick but pipe-able consistency. Transfer it into a piping bag and just when your buns are ready to go into the oven, egg wash them and pipe a cross over each bun.
Preheat your oven to 200C without fan and bake for 10 minutes till golden brown.
Brush the hot buns with the sugar syrup and leave to cool. Best consumed fresh and warm out of the oven although they were still incredible 8 hours later.