Give them to your sons
One ha’ penny,
Two ha’ penny,
Hot Cross Buns!”
“Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be“
Sharing a Hot Cross Bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year and who could resist a warm plate of hot buns? Half for you and half for your friend and everyone is happy! Especially after the abstinence from yummy treats throughout Lent, I think we all deserve a deliciously sticky, spiced fruity bun
This being my 3rd Easter away from the nest, I thought it was finally time I got around to making some traditional Easter treats and what better than Hot Cross Buns! I had never made these before but I have memories of gobbling them up after being toasted and lathered in butter. They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, but as I was away from the kitchen, today was my day to experiment. I researched quite a few recipes and decided that this was my favourite method. It’s a traditional hot cross bun recipe with a twist: spiced, candied apples. So easy and yet so scrummy.
The buns are allowed to expand twice which makes them extra bunny, if that makes sense!
Here is the recipe, I hope you have your own Easter adventures in the kitchen this weekend to share too…..
- 325g caster sugar
- 750 g Plain Flour
- 1 lemon
- 2 Apples (I used Pink Ladies) peeled, cored and diced
- 150g sultanas
- 15 g (3 x 5g sachets) Bakers Yeast
- 3 tspns Ground cinnamon
- 1 tspn Ground nutmeg
- 1 tspn Allspice
- 1 tspn salt
- 400 ml milk
- 1 egg
- 100g butter
I used the remaining syrup from the apples and lemon, combined with 1/2 tspn cinnamon. Heated it up and brushed it generously over the buns, transfer to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes and get ready to gobble!
Start off heating 275 ml of water and 260 g castor sugar in a pan over a medium heat. Add the juice of half the lemon along with the apples. The other half of the lemon can be cut into small cubes and added into the pan.
Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes until apples and lemons are soft and translucent.
Drain the fruit and reserve the syrup separately. When the apples and lemons have cooled down, dice them.
In a mixing bowl, combine 700g flour, sultanas, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, yeast and salt and the apple and lemon mixture.
Combine to ensure it is evenly mixed. Make a well in the centre.
In a small pan, over a medium heat, pour in the milk, add the butter and when melted, whisk in the egg.
Add this milk mixture to the mixing bowl.
Stir to form a soft dough.
Knead for 8-10 minutes to aerate the dough,
Place in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film.
Place the bowl in a warm area (I use an oven heated to 60 °C) for about 30 minutes, until it has expanded.
Take the dough out, place on a floured surface and knock back the dough.
Divide the dough into at least 15 buns.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the buns on to this with at least 1 cm space in between them to allow them to expand.
Cover with cling film once again and place back into the oven or a warm area for another 30 minutes to expand further, at least doubled in size.
Mix 70 ml cold water and 50 g flour together and, using a piping back make crosses on top of the buns.
Preheat the oven to 220 °C, place the buns in the centre of the oven and after 10 minutes reduce the heat to 200 °C and cook for a further 10 minutes.
The buns should sound a little hollow when ready.
Heat the apple and lemon syrup in a small pot over medium heat and add in 1/2 tspn cinnamon. With a glazing brush, generously coat the buns with this syrup. Move to a wire rack and cool.
Lather in butter and devour!
Also, whilst I was researching the buns, I discovered some interesting history behind them. Aside from traditionally being eaten on Good Friday, it is also thought that buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the Goddess Eostre.
Hot Cross Buns also have a lot of superstitions associated with them. Because of the cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten.If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year. So, next time you grab a hot cross bun out of the toaster, think of the years of history that came with that yummy bun!