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.

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    • 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

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Bloomin’ marvellous

A very short post to celebrate the wonderful achievement that is my youngest’s first loaf of bread. He followed a simple bloomer recipe (Paul Hollywood) using:

  • 500g bread flour
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 10ml oil
  • 5g salt
  • 300ml water

He shunned the use of my mixer and went old school by kneading by hand. Well done son. Very tasty and didn’t last long.

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Christmas Chelsea Buns

Paul Hollywood (Great British Bake Off) shared this recipe leading up to Christmas and it looked so tasty I had to give it a go. The combination of sweet enriched bread combined with the deep and aromatic savoury flavours of Christmas promised to deliver on many levels.

The dough itself is relatively easy to make and can handle (if not require) extra flour to get the required smooth consistency that you need. 10 minutes kneading by hand or dough hook should be long enough to develop the gluten. You should be aiming for a soft, tacky and elastic dough. Another tip is to make sure that all ingredients are at room temp. NB. I used more ingredients than in the recipe because I knew I had to feed more. (I just added half again, i.e. 750g flour etc.)

Makes 6 (approx.)

  • 500g bread flour
  • 14g dried yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g sugar
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 90ml warm water
  • 270g cranberry sauce
  • 200g stuffing – chopped
  • 300g turkey – shredded
  • 2 tblsp bread sauce (optional)

Stir sugar yeast milk and water in a jug and allow to sit for a few minutes to start the yeast off. Put flour and salt into large mixing bowl and add yeast mixture and blend together. Tip out and knead on a floured surface or in a mixing bowl with a dough hook for at least 10 mins until smooth – you will probably have to add more flour as you go along to reduce stickiness.

This is a rich dough so will be naturally moist and tacky so don’t panic if it sticks to your fingers a little. Cover and leave it to rise till doubled, which can take up to 2 hours.

Once doubled tip the dough out onto a well floured surface and gently work into a rectangular shape, first with you hands and then with a rolling pin. Roll it to about 3/4 cm thick and then tack down the edge closest to you – see below.

Christmas Chelsea buns - 5

Now spread on your toppings (room temp please) starting with the sauces then the stuffing and finally the turkey. See below

Christmas Chelsea buns - 2

Christmas Chelsea buns - 4Now roll it up starting at the edge away from you. The trick is to work your way along the roll lifting and lightly tugging/stretching the dough as you go. Then trim the ends off and cut 2 inch rounds from the roll and put into a well buttered non stick deep dish.

Christmas Chelsea buns - 7

Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour until there are no visible gaps between the rounds and they look puffed up.

Christmas Chelsea buns - 8

Christmas Chelsea buns - 09

Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 mins at 180 deg C (fan oven) until golden brown. If you can check the bottom to make sure it is cooked all the better – they can be taken out and examined on a cooling rack if you need to.

Christmas Chelsea buns - 10

Christmas Chelsea buns - 12

I served mine alongside some soup that I made from the turkey bones making full use of the leftovers. I still have a load of turkey meat to use tomorrow so I might make a pie or curry or perhaps a risotto…