I don't give a rat's ass about Easter and all that, but food is definitely a topic to warm my heart. However, since hot cross buns are related to Easter, and that originally pagan celebration is fast approaching, it seems appropriate to post a recipe for my favourite Easter comfort food. Loyal FFTMC readers will recall my love of sweet breads (not to be confused with sweetbread) from my previous post of a recipe for panettone. This recipe is also inspired from Breads by Sharon Tyler Herbst.
Hot cross buns
1 tbsp (1 package) dry yeast
3 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup of a whatever various candied fruits you can find
1 egg yolk mixed with water for glaze
Dissolve yeast in warm water with 1 tsp of the sugar. Let stand until foamy. Add remaining sugar, milk eggs, butter, orange zest, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, salt and half the flour. Beat until smooth (or your arm gets tired, whichever comes first). Mix in the currants and candied fruit, then add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding a little flour from time to time to prevent sticking. Place dough in a bowl in a warm place free from draughts and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled.
Grease a large baking sheet. Punch down the dough and divide it into 15 or 16 pieces and form into balls. Space the balls evenly on the baking sheet and cover with cloth and let stand another hour or so (sometimes a bit longer), until doubled again.
Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Use a sharp knife to score a shallow cross (or the pagan symbol of your choice) into the buns and brush egg-yolk glaze over buns. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. If you like, you can drizzle some frosting into the scores, but you'll have to find your own recipe for that.