Home' Christchurch Mail : March 28th 2013 Contents 13
CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, MARCH 28, 2013
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Butter and spice are always nice
By SARAH TURPITT
It is a comforting thought that in this
fast-paced, disposable world, there are
times each year when a large number
of us dust off the cookbooks and bake a
recipe that has been around for centuries.
Easter buns are one of those traditional
And they are not exclusive to Christians
either -- even in pagan times, a rich sweet
dough was prepared to welcome the
northern hemisphere spring. It even spor-
ted the mark of the cross in honour of
Eostre, goddess of light. The ancient
Egyptians also baked small sweet buns
marked with ox horns as an offering to the
goddess of the moon.
The hot cross buns as we know them
became popular in Tudor times. Made from
the same spiced, butter-enriched dough
that is used today, the original hot cross
buns were available for sale only on Good
Friday. These days, of course, you can buy
them for several weeks before Easter.
However, with the luxury of four days'
holiday, you may well have the time to join
me in baking your own.
Hot cross buns
50g sugar plus 1 tsp extra
1 Tbsp dried yeast
450g plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
55ml milk, warm
1 egg, beaten
50g butter, melted
Stir the extra teaspoon of sugar into 150ml
of hand-hot water. Sprinkle in the dried
yeast and leave it until a good frothy beer
Sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a
mixing bowl. Add the remaining 50g of
sugar and the currants.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the
yeast mixture, 45ml of the warm milk, the
beaten egg and the melted butter.
Now mix it to a dough, starting with a
wooden spoon and finishing with your
hands. Add more milk if needed.
Transfer the dough onto a clean surface
and knead until it feels smooth and elastic
-- about six minutes.
Place it back into the bowl and cover with
a lightly oiled plastic bag. Leave it in a
warm place to rise -- it will take about an
hour to double its volume. Turn it out and
quickly knead it again back down to its
Divide the mixture into 12 round por-
tions. Arrange the uncooked buns on a
greased baking sheet, allowing plenty of
room for expansion, and make a deep cross
on each one with a sharp knife.
Leave them to rise once more, covering
again with the oiled plastic bag, for about
25 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven
to 220 Celsius.
To make more distinctive crosses, use a
flour-and-water paste made from 110g
plain flour and about three tablespoons of
water. Roll out thinly and divide into small
strips, dampening them to seal.
Bake the buns for about 15 minutes.
While they're cooking, melt 50g sugar with
two tablespoons of water over a gentle heat
for a glaze. Brush the buns with it when
they come out of the oven to make them
nice and sticky.
I don't have any brioche moulds, so I make
pinwheels in my muffin tins -- they end up
a bit like cinnamon buns. Just make
sure you place the muffin tins on to
a tray or you will end up with a mess
in your oven.
2 tsp dried yeast
1G3 cup sugar
3 cups flour
100g butter, grated
1G2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
Soak the yeast in the milk.
Add it to the other ingredients and beat
it all together in a cake mixer, using the
paddle attachment, for 8 to 10 minutes.
Allow to prove for at least three hours --
I usually prove mine overnight in the
fridge. Place the dough on a floured bench.
Roll it out into a rectangle measuring
about 45cm x 30cm.
Top with grated butter, brown sugar
Roll the dough up and cut it into 12
Place into a well-greased muffin tin and
bake at 180C for 15 minutes.
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