Easter Buns (Hot Cross)

I think I will take out shares in Paul Hollywood as once again I have used his recipe to create these wonderful Easter treats. My sons are becoming more involved with the kitchen and were responsible for the final shape and form of the buns. You will need:

For the buns
  • 300ml/10fl oz whole milk
  • 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour
  • 75g/2½oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7g sachet fast-action yeast
  • 50g/1¾oz butter
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 75g/2½oz sultanas
  • 50g/1¾oz mixed peel
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • sunflower oil, for greasing the bowl
For the cross
  • 75g/2½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the glaze
    • 3 tbsp apricot jam

    Preparation method

    • Bring the milk to the boil and then remove from the heat and leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature.
    • Mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and egg together in a bowl, then slowly add the warmed milk until it forms a soft, sticky dough.
    • Add the sultanas, mixed peel, chopped apple and orange zest, then tip out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

    Image

    • Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for approximately one hour, or until doubled in size.

    Hot Cross Buns - 2

    • Divide the dough into 12 even pieces, and roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured surface. Arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with parchment, leaving enough space so that the buns just touch when they rise and expand. Set aside to prove for another hour.

    Hot Cross Buns - 3

    • Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
    • For the cross, mix the flour with about five tablespoons of water in small bowl, adding the water one tablespoon at a time, so that you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.

    Hot Cross Buns - 4

    • Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, or until golden-brown.

    Hot Cross Buns - 7

    • Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool. Gently rip the buns apart to serve, revealing temptingly soft edges.

    Hot Cross Buns - 9

Chelsea Buns

Having been pestered by my son to make these (he asked me once!) I succumbed to his plea and rustled these together. I used the same recipe that I used for my Christmas buns but added 50g more sugar as it was a sweet bread. I also sprinkled 4 tsp of ground cinnamon into the flour before adding the wet stuff.

Another small twist (just because it was there) that I added was the apple sauce – from a jar (100g).

Chelsea Buns - 01

Proofing for about 2 hours – if you use cold water.
Chelsea Buns - 04 Roll out to about 1cm thick rectangleChelsea Buns - 06 Then the improvised apple (helped to keep them moist)Chelsea Buns - 07 Raisins / sultanas and more cinnamon (you could add a sprinkle of caster sugar as well if you wanted extra sweet.Chelsea Buns - 08Lift, gently tug and roll towards youChelsea Buns - 09 Ready to be cut into 5cm roundsChelsea Buns - 10 Put into greased deep dish tinsChelsea Buns - 11 Allow to rise for another hour or so (double in size)Chelsea Buns - 13 Bake at 190 deg C for 15 minutes or until golden and ready.

Then brush with honey, syrup or sugar & water glaze. I think I used maple syrup on these as I had some left over from pancake day.Chelsea Buns - 16 They didn’t last long…Chelsea Buns - 18