Thursday, March 13, 2008
Fruity, Spicy, Sticky
Around this time of year, you can’t visit the shops without seeing chocolate at every turn. There are eggs, bunnies and the occasional chocolate marsupial everywhere you look! But one of my favourite things about the Easter season is warm, toasted hot cross buns slathered in butter. They’ve been tempting me every time I visit my new favourite coffee place, the Bourke St Bakery in Broadway*, and I decided to have a go at making them myself.
I picked a Donna Hay recipe from her book Modern Classics 2, because I’ve had quite a few successes with her recipes in the past. The procedure was easy enough, even for someone who doesn’t have that much experience cooking with yeast. I followed the recipe pretty closely for my first attempt, but I want to make them once more before Easter and add some dried cranberries along with the sultanas. I only encountered problems when piping the crosses. They were a little bit wonky and crooked, so I could definitely use a little more practice on that front.
Overall, I was very impressed with the end result. The buns were just as they should be – fruity, spicy, and sticky with sweet glaze and melted butter. They are, of course best eaten warm, preferably straight out of the oven, or toasted under a hot grill. If you’re feeling indulgent, sandwich a scoop of vanilla ice cream between the two halves of the bun.
* Bourke St Bakery in Broadway is located at 130 Broadway, right next to Kinkos where incidentally, as a graphic design student I also spend a lot of time!
Hot Cross Buns
Adapted from Modern Classics 2 by Donna Hay
Makes 12 (at least)
• 3 x 7g sachets active dry yeast
• ½ cup caster sugar
• 1 ½ cups milk, lukewarm
• 4 ¼ cups plain flour, sifted
• 2 teaspoons mixed spice
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 50g butter, melted
• 1 egg
• 1 ½ cups sultanas
• 1/3 cup candied mixed peel
For the crosses
• ½ cup plain flour
• 1/3 cup water
For the glaze
• ½ cup sugar
• ¼ cup water
1. Place the yeast, 2 teaspoons of the sugar and all of the milk in a large bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to foam. This means the yeast is active.
2. Add the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, vanilla, butter, egg, sultanas, and mixed peel and remaining sugar to the yeast mixture. Use a butterknife to mix until a nice sticky dough forms.
3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 8 minutes, or until it feels elastic.
4. Place in a large oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to stand in a warm place about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
5. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls.
6. Line a 23cm (9 inch) square cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Place the dough balls in the tin and cover with a clean tea towel. Allow to stand for 30 minutes in a warm place, until they rise.
7. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Combine the extra flour and water for the crosses. Place in a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off and pipe crosses on the buns.
8. Bake for 35 minutes or until browned and springy to the touch.
9. To make the glaze, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Brush the hot cross buns with the warm glaze while the buns are hot. Serve warm, with butter.