Monday, 17 April 2017

Hot cross buns (the traditional family version from the grey folder)

Ingredients

1 lb strong white flour
1 level tsp salt
1 level tsp mixed spice
1/2 level tsp grated nutmeg
2 oz caster sugar
1 oz fresh yeast (or 1 level tbsp dried yeast)
1 warm egg (beaten) made up to half a pint with warm milk and water, and 1 tsp caster sugar (make sure it's all very nice and warm!)
2 oz melted butter
4 oz currants
1-2 oz chopped mixed peel

For the crosses:

1 oz self raising flour
1 dessert spoon of oil
1 dessert spoon of milk
1 dessertspoon of water

For the glaze:

1 tbsp water
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp caster sugar

Method

If possible, work in a warm room!

  1. Warm the bowl to quite hot
  2. Sift the flour, salt, spices and sugar into the warm bowl
  3. Add the warm milk and water to the egg and add the yeast (and sugar if using dried yeast).
  4. Make a dip in the middle of the dry ingredients and stir in the melted butter and the yeasty liquid.
  5. Mix to a soft dough.
  6. Turn out onto an unfloured surface, and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth.
  7. Press out the dough with knuckles and spread the currants and mixed peel over the surface.
  8. Gather it up and knead it again to distribute the fruit.
  9. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a smooth ball. Put it in the warm bowl to rise, covered with a plastic bag.
  10. When it has doubled in size turn it out again, flatten it, knead it again, and divide into 16 pieces by rolling the side of your hand across the middle of each piece to force the dough apart at the centre. (The original recipe says make 12, but when it works well this quantity makes 16 large buns).
  11. Place the buns well apart on a greased tray. Put them in a warm place to rise (covered with a bag or cloth).
  12. Heat the oven to 425º F, Gas mark 7
  13. When the buns are risen and all joined up at the edges, apply the crosses: make up the paste for the crosses in a small bowl, and use a piping bag or cone of greaseproof paper to squeeze a tube of paste across each row of buns, and then again at right angles across the vertical and horizontal axes. (If your piping hole is too large and you have 16 large buns, you may need to make more paste!)
  14. Bake them in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes (until they sound good and hollow on the bottom).
  15. While they are baking make the glaze: heat the ingredients in a small pan on the stove, slowly at first then boil, stirring with a wooden spoon. Draw it off the heat.
  16. When the buns are done, glaze them using a pastry brush while they are still hot.
  17. Allow to cool a bit, or just eat them immediately.... 
  18. To serve, split the bun horizontally and butter it liberally. Split buns can be toasted in the toaster, or whole buns can be reheated in the oven.
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