Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Hot Cross Buns - The Great Debate

Traditional, Extra Fruit, No Fruit, No Peel, Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate Chip, Mocha...

These days there are more options that I know what to do with.  But is doesn't really matter as I am a purist and love the good old traditional one full of fruit and peel.

What does matter though is the cost. 
How is it that you now pay as much as $5.00 for 6 little air filled buns that probably cost about 1/5 of that to make.  I am not sure Hot Cross Buns have ever cost that much, What is the highest price you have seen them for?
Did you know that these tasty little buns have been around for a very long time, possibly as far back as the time of Christ.
In many historically Christian countries, the buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the crucifixion.
At one time the buns were seen by Protestant English monarchs as a dangerous hold over of Catholic belief in England.  Protestant England attempted to ban the sale of the buns by bakers but they were too popular, and instead Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them, but only at Easter and Christmas.

We thank goodness they were not banned as I love them and have been baking some this weekend to take away with us camping over Easter.

A few of the Un-Crossed Buns

This recipe makes quite a few buns (1 - 2 doz depending on the size of you buns) and are best eaten fresh.  It is not a difficult recipe and although I do not have kids I think this is something they would enjoy.  And if you do not like fruit or peel then you can always leave them out.  I leave the crosses off mine unless making them for others.

Hot Cross Buns

1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Hot water
2TBSP Sugar
4 tsp Dried Yeast
2 Cups Bread Flour
100gm soft Butter
1/2 Cup Brown sugar
1 Egg
1tsp Salt
1tsp each of Mixed Spice, Ground Cloves, Cinnamon and Vanilla Ess
1 Cup of mixed dried Fruit
2-3 Cups of Bread Flour
For Crosses
60 gm cold butter
1Cup Flour
2TBSP Golden Syrup
1TBSP Hot Water

Put Milk, Hot Water and Sugar into a bowl making sure it is at body temperature.  Add the yeast and whisk well.  Then mix in the first measure of flour, cover and leave to double in size.
In another large bowl cream Butter and sugar.  Beat in the egg, spices, vanilla and fruit.
Once the yeast mix has doubled in size tip it into the creamed mix along with 2 cups of the second measure of flour.  Mix well then stir in enough flour to make a dough firm enough to turn out on to a board and knead.  Knead adding extra flour until the dough is satiny, does not stick to the board and springs back .
Cut into quarters and then into either 4 or 6 again.  Shape each piece into a ball the stretch the top and tuck underneath to produce a ball with a smooth surface.
Arrange the balls in a greased cake tin or roasting pan leaving an un-risen bun width between each one.
Cover with Cling wrap or seal in a plastic bag and leave somewhere warm to rise.
While the buns are rising make the mix for the crosses.
Rub the cold butter into the flour and add enough water to make a stiff dough.  Roll out thinly on a floured board and cut into strips to make the crosses.  When the bus have finished rising carefully brush with milk and lay the strips for the crosses on the buns.
Bake uncovered on 225 degrees C for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
While baking the buns warm the golden syrup and water together and brush over the buns as soon as they are removed from the oven.
Turn the buns out after 3-5 minutes and serve warm.
They are best eaten within 2 days.

1 comment:

  1. They look really yummy! I don't they will last very long this weekend camping! I bet they taste better then the shop brought ones to.


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