Life is too short for homemade Hot Cross Buns
Seduced by glorious magazine recipes for hot cross buns? Tempted to make your own? Are you looking for an easy hot cross bun recipe?
Forget it. Seriously. Back away from the mixing bowl, go out your front door, down to the shops and just buy some.
Prep time 3 hours +
Bake 25 mins
Makes 16 mini rock-cake-style-buns.
Hot Cross Bun Ingredients (or you could just make rock cakes)
2 cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
450g plain white flour (wholemeal just doesn’t quite work)
7g yeast (make sure it’s not out of date)
100g cold butter
50g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 ground ginger
50g mixed peel
Step 1 (didn’t you read the first paragraph?)
Pour the milk into a small non-stick pan. Squish the cardamom pods, add the cinnamon sticks, cloves and nutmeg. Heat gently to simmer then leave the ingredients to infuse for an hour. And so it begins…
Step 2 (I warned you)
Strain out the spices, gently reheat the milk but don’t let it get hot. Add the flour and yeast into a large bowl, grate in the cold butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until it is combined. Stir in the sugar, salt and ginger, and make a well in the flour mix. Easy enough, you might think.
Step 3 (you obviously think positive)
Add two beaten eggs and stir together with the milk to make a dough that is soft and sticky. On a floured surface knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth. This bit is actually quite quick (and fun!)
Step 4 (you could have been to the shops and back by now)
Place the dough into another large, greased bowl and leave covered loosely with a tea towel somewhere warm until the dough has risen to about half its size again. This will take about 2 hours. in the meantime, you might as well get on with washing up all the bowls and utensils you’ve already used. And get ready for more. Then line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Step 5 (I couldn’t get a rise out of it, but perhaps you’re the tenacious type)
Tip out your risen dough, and knock it down. Thus apparently undoing the whole point of the previous 2 hours… Flatten the dough out and scatter the currants and peel over it. Knead the dough again to mix everything thoroughly in.
Step 6 (yes another hour)
Divide up the dough to make 16 equal balls and arrange them on the baking tray from Step 4. Score a cross in the top of each one then cover again with a tea towel and put back in a warm place to prove for an hour. No doubt by now you are also feeling a little hot and cross! Near the end of this time pre-heat your oven to 200C.
Step 7 (they won’t look as good as in the magazines)
Mix about 50g of white flour with a pinch of salt and a dash of water – just enough to make a stiff paste. Beat some egg with a bit of milk and brush the top of each bun with the mixture. Pipe the paste into the scored crosses on your buns.
Step 8 (disappointment)
Bake the buns for 25 minutes until golden. Mix the caster sugar with a teaspoon of boiling water to make a light syrup. When the buns come out of the oven paint the top with the glaze and put on a wire rack to cool. They will now resemble overelaborate rock cakes, which is not in itself a bad thing but for the fact that you can knock up a batch of rock cakes in about 30 minutes tops and you don’t have to faff about with all that rising and knocking down. Perhaps it’s a form of Easter penitence or something.
Step 9 (optional)
Admit defeat and see whether Midway Stores have got any of the real thing left. Failing that, cut a piece of lardy cake into circles and stare very hard at anyone who starts to ask questions.