4th April 2020
Hot cross buns
Searching for a classic Easter treat, using the basic ingredients in the cupboard? Search no further (as long as you have raisins, currants or sultanas in stock!)
Ingredients for the buns
600g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
2 ½ tsp mixed spice
50g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
75g caster sugar
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 ½ tsp of dried fast action yeast
1 free-range egg beaten
300ml whole milk
60g dried sultanas
60g dried raisins
Ingredients for the topping
2 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp apricot jam
1. To make the buns, sieve the flour, mixed spice and salt into a mixing bowl, next rub the butter through the mixture using your fingertips. Then add the sugar, yeast, zest of the unwaxed lemon, beaten egg and finally the milk.
2. Mix all of the ingredients together to create a pliable dough and slowly integrate the dried fruit, then turn out onto a floured work surface. Work the dough lightly for around 5-10 minutes, or until the dough has turned elastic.
3. Place the dough into a large mixing bowl and cover with cling film. Leave the dough in a warm location for 1 hour to prove.
4. Turn out the proved mixture onto a floured work surface and knock out the dough to remove any air from the mixture. Return and cover the dough into the bowl for a further 40 minutes
5. Turn the dough out again onto a floured surface and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and then flatten very lightly into bun shapes. Lightly cover the buns and leave to rest for 45 minutes. Then pre-heat your oven to 240C/220C Fan/Gas 8.
6. To make the topping, mix the 2 tablespoons of plain flour with 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water to make a paste. When the buns have risen, put the paste into a piping bag and pipe a cross on the top of each bun.
7. Place the buns in the pre-heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
8. Gently warm 3 tablespoons of apricot jam on the hob, be sure not to boil.
9. When the buns have cooked and still warm, brush the warmed apricot jam onto the buns. Finally, let the buns cool and enjoy.
Question: What's the difference between sultanas, raisins, and currants?
Answer: In short, they are similar in taste and texture, but are each better suited to certain dishes in cooking. Sultanas are small, sweet and juicy and best suited to savoury hot dishes, perhaps to add some sweetness to a curry. Currants are dried, black, seedless grapes and have a more intense, tangy flavour, better suited to a sweet bun. Raisins are the smaller of the three and are probably considered to be the most versatile as they are the easiest to find in the supermarket. That said, different types of raisins are quite interchangeable in cooking.
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