Wednesday, 13 April 2011

:: More than just Memories ::

Hot Cross Buns
:: Megann's Kitchen ::

:: beautiful & traditional toasted hot cross buns with melting butter ::

I don’t know one person that doesn’t have memories of deliciously warm hot cross buns with a slathering of golden butter, melting on the top at Easter time. They always had charred, crusty bits on the edges, adding to that extra depth of flavour & this was what I loved when we attempted to grill them to perfection. Simply biting through the crunch of the first layer to get to the soft centre, ooh, heaven! They really do take me back to my childhood, Easter Egg hunts with our extended family members, the red leaves of the maples on our farm, the crisp morning air that filled my lungs when playing outside. I ate them for breakfast AND lunch & you know what, sometimes still do!

This original recipe was written out from a vintage gourmet traveller magazine years ago, however have adapted it with spices & peel to my liking to make it unique from Megann's Kitchen. These buns are not hard at all but are a little time consuming, so allow a good 3 hours for the rising of the dough. I hope you like them just as much as our family does.

4½ cups plain flour
1/3 cup of caster sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups (225 grams) sultanas
100 grams of candied mixed peel, finely chopped
1 orange rind, zested with a microplane
pinch of sea salt
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup cream
90 grams unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg

½ cup flour
2 TBS caster sugar
water- enough to form a thick, smooth paste

¼ cup water
¼ cup caster sugar
½ tsp mixed spice or cinnamon (I do two shakes of each)

:: Gently warm the milk, cream & butter over a low heat, stirring constantly until the butter is melted. Turn off the heat & sit for 15-20 minutes. When ready to add the milk mixture to the below flour mixture, whisk the egg.
:: Combine flour, sugar, yeast, spices, sultanas, mixed peel, orange rind & sea salt into a large bowl.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add milk mixture. Stir then turn out onto a well floured workbench & knead for 10 minutes until smooth or
- Use your KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer with the dough hook attachment: place all the above flour mixture ingredients into the bowl & gradually add the milk mixture. Mix for about 5 minutes & you will notice that as the gluten in the dough activates, it will start to work its way up the dough hook. Finish with a 3 minute knead on the workbench until smooth while adding more flour if required.
:: Place the large ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap & place in a warm part of the house for at least an hour or until it has almost doubled in size.
:: ‘Knock back’ the dough & cut into 16 equal pieces (half/half/half/half). Knead each piece into a ball, place in a lightly greased & lined 22cm square cake pan, cover with either a damp tea towel or cling wrap, & again stand in a warm place until, once again, almost doubled in size.

:: Preheat oven to 220°C. Combine flour, caster sugar & water in a small bowl to make a thick, smooth paste. Place into a piping & snip off the corner. Pipe lines down the centre of each row of your prepared buns in order to form a cross. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the oven to 200°C & bake for another 10-15 minutes until a warm golden colour. The trick here is they should sound hollow when tapped.

:: While your hot cross buns are in the oven, prepare your glaze. Place water, sugar & spices in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat & simmer for a further 3-4 minutes, then take off the heat. Brush glaze over the buns freshly out of the oven, then cool on a wire rack.

:: the ingredients prepared & ready to bake ::
:: good dough rising ::

Toast & Serve: The best way to serve is to toast under the grill until a beautifully golden colour with a generous slathering of real, salted butter.

:: knead the dough into a gorgeous elastic ball ::
:: sectioned into 16 equal balls, ready to rise ::
:: piping on the crosses ::
:: 'just glazed' hot cross buns straight out of the oven ::

I hope you enjoy these hot cross buns as much as our family does!
:: Happy Easter ::

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