Monday, April 5, 2010

The Real Deal Baby!

I had every intention of putting my little girl to bed Saturday night then getting up to start my hot cross buns so that we could have them for Easter brunch. No such luck. I passed out and didn't get up until 7 am just to say to myself "oh well" and roll back over. At least my mom's coworkers will get to enjoy them for breakfast.

They were easy enough to bake. Easier if my five year old didn't have to fight for my attention while I was making them. And then I ended up proofing them around the same time the ham went in the oven so I had to put them in the fridge to slow the proofing down until the oven was ready for me. But most of them came out beautifully and they are as delicious as they look.

Now I say these are the real deal because my mom doesn't remember hot cross buns coming with all this frosting that grocery stores put on theirs. And she remembers different fruit being in it. And a lot of times I hear people say that there shouldn't be any frosting on them at all. All the sweetness should come from the bun. AND. I got this recipe from one of the new books I purchased recently: Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen.

Hot Cross Buns
from the book Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen

1 oz fresh yeast
1/2 cup superfine sugar (I used regular sugar only because that's what I had on hand, it's not too hard to find though)
1 to 1 1/4 cup tepid milk (I ended up only using one cup)
3 1/4 cups bread flour
6 T butter
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 to 2 t mixed spice (I had to look this up and the mix varies but I used a mix of 6t corriander, 5t cinnamon, 3t nutmeg, 2t ginger, 1t cloves and I only ended up using 1 teaspoon in this recipe)
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped peel (double checked with my mom, orange peel)
2oz shortcrust pastry (recipe to follow)
egg wash (milk, sugar and  egg yolk according to recipe, I just used one egg beaten smoothe)

shortcrust pastry
8T butter
2 T superfine granulated sugar (again, I just used what I had)
1 egg
1 1/3 cups flour

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat for several minutes. Reduce speed and mix in flour. Chill for at least an hour before use.

Dissolve the yeast with 1 T of the sugar in a little tepid milk. (I used 1 cup of milk here)

Put the flour into a bowl. Rub in the butter; add the cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice, a pinch of salt and the remainder of the sugar. Mix well.

Beat the eggs and add to the milk. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add the yeast and most of the liquid and mix to a soft dough, (add more milk of necessary). (Here, since I added the yeast to 1 cup of milk I added the beaten egg to the yeast/milk mixture and that's all I needed for the recipe, I didn't need anymore milk)

Leave for 2 to 3 minutes, then knead until smooth. Add the currants, sultanas and chopped peel and continue to knead until the dough is shiny. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. Punch down the dough, by kneading it for 3 to 4 minutes. (I just punched it down) Rest it for a few minutes, then shape it into 1 1/2 inch balls. ( I got 16 out of this) Put them onto a baking sheet and brush the tops with egg wash. Mark the top of each bun with a cross. Carefully put a cross made of thin strips of shortcrust pastry onto each bun. Leave the buns to rise again to double their size, and brush again carefully with egg wash.

Bake in a preheated oven at 425* for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400* for a further 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. (The commercial baker in me that's used to not having the luxury of changing oven temps for everything I put in the oven just stuck with 425* for 15 minutes and they came out fine.)

**Side note: This is my first time working with fresh yeast. Boy was I surprised by the smell.

P.S. Check out my Easter Egg pics here. They were so pretty.


How To Eat A Cupcake said...

I'll have to try the "real" hot cross buns someday. But I love frosting sooo much! Hahahah ;)

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

I love frosting too but these are traditional old fashion ones that we've been hunting for. Sometimes you need a hit of frosting lol :)