Sunday, 17 April 2011

One-a-penny, Two-a-Penny, Making Hot Crossed Buns

Hot cross buns
"The most popular English Easter bread is the hot cross bun..." 
Oxford Companion to Food
, Alan Davidson

I adore these traditional cakes - the smell alone is reason enough to eat or make them! They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday with their sugary surface marked with a cross to symbolize The Crucifixion. Apparently, if you hang a hot cross bun in the house on this day it offers protection from bad luck in the coming year!

I had never made these before (but have eaten many) and was curious to find out how to make them and to see if they taste even better home made than they do from the shops. 
I used a recipe from the BBC website which seemed traditional and simple.

Now for a little warning. I assumed that, like bread, these buns would need some rising time. They do. I started this recipe mid evening and made the mistake of not looking at the preparation time - "over 2 hours"! However, they were fun to make and made the house smell amazing!

My hot cross buns straight from the oven.

The finishing touches of the crosses and glaze were especially satisfying - making them glisten. Mine were not as fluffy as the ones I normally buy from the supermarket, but they definitely had a more complex and delicate flavour. They were best toasted.

As they go stale quickly, you should either eat them all quickly (2/3 days) or store some in the freezer until needed. They can then be thawed out and reheated in the oven before serving. 
Apart from taking the time to allow the dough to rise properly, the way to ensure good results is to buy the best quality raisins/dried fruit that you can. 

Serve with Earl Grey Tea and spread with lots of butter 
for a very Good, Friday.

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