Daylight savings ended in Australia on Sunday and with that extra hour I decided to try making my own hot cross buns. Never having attempted these before, I used this recipe – but omitted the orange peel as I’m not a huge fan of it. I was so happy with the results – they rose so well and were soft and fluffy. And photogenic too! Although they take a long time to prepare, the recipe itself is relatively simple and the time it took was absolutely worth it for the results! Not only were they totally delicious and enjoyed by everyone at home, but it’s been a while since I’ve baked anything and I’d almost forgotten how much I enjoy the whole process. The catharsis of kneading the dough, the amazing smell through the house as they baked, and the extreme satisfaction derived from that I-made-it-myself-feeling made it a very enjoyable way to spend a weekend morning! It’s a bit of a departure from the healthy recipes I’ve been posting so far, but hot cross buns are one of my favourite things about Easter!
Make sure you have plenty of time to bake your hot cross buns – you need to knead the dough for 10 minutes, then leave to rise for 40 minutes, then separate into individual buns and then leave to rise for a further 40 minutes, plus 20 minutes of cooking time!
I haven’t baked with yeast very often, so I had to google what the recipe meant by knocking back the dough. To my delight, it meant that I got to punch the big fluffy ball of dough once it had risen to let the extra air out. Great feeling!
Making the crosses was surprisingly easy. The cross is made of a mixture of 2 parts flour and 1 part water which is then piped along the rows of nuns in both directions. In place of a piping bag with a fine nozzle as the recipe suggests, I simply spooned the mixture into a glad bag and cut off a tiny corner of the bag. The piping requires a steady hand and a little bit of patience – so just take your time to make sure the crosses are as straight as possible.
The beautiful shiny finish is a result of glazing after the buns have been cooked. Serve warm with butter. And a cup of tea!