Easter is not complete without eggs (primarily the chocolate variety), bank holiday weather – by that we mean rain, and of course the Hot Cross Bun. Our recipe this year focusses on flavours from morocco, with the dried fruit being apricots and prunes, which compliment the traditional cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger spices – a Tagine reincarnated as a baked product.
The recipe makes enough for 16 small Hot Cross Buns, each just one bitesize, which we find leaves less of guilty feeling when eating several at once. Of course you are free to make a smaller batch of bigger buns.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes + 3 hours to prove
- 400g bread flour – we used a mix of 150g wholemeal and 250g plain;
- 1 x 7g packet of easy-bake yeast
- 150ml milk
- 1 orange – zest
- 50g butter
- 1 clove
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 2 eggs
- 75g dried apricots
- 75g dried prunes
- In a large mixing bowl, weigh out the flour and add the yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Finely chop the dried fruit and add to the mixing bowl.
- Put a saucepan over a low heat, into which pour the milk and add the butter, orange zest, clove and cardamom pods. Simmer gently for several minutes until the butter has melted, but do not let the milk bubble.
- Take the milk off the heat – it shouldn’t become so hot that you can’t touch it. Remove the clove and cardamom pods then whisk in one of the eggs quickly.
- Make a well in the middle of dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Stir together to combine and then knead for 5 – 10 minutes on a floured surface. When you gently press a finger into the dough and it springs back to shape, it is ready.
- Leave to prove in a bowl covered in clingfilm for 2 hours until risen.
- Knock the air out of the dough and then divide into 16 small balls. Place each on a lined baking tray. Make a cross indentation with the back of a knife. Cover and leave to prove for a 2nd time for 45 minutes.
- 15 minutes before the 2nd proof is finished, pre-heat the oven to 200ºC.
Beat the leftover egg with a dribble of water to make an egg wash and brush all the buns once the proven.
- Make a thick flour paste from 3 tbsp of plain flour and 3 tbsp water, and drizzle across each bun to make the traditional cross.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until risen and golden brown then remove and leave to cool. While they are still warm, quickly make a sugar syrup (dissolve 1 tbsp of sugar in 1 tbsp hot water) and brush each hot cross bun for a shiny glaze.