I know I could have got myself organised and made “Artisan Sourdough Hot Cross buns” … but to be honest I have kind of lost my creativity Mojo over the last few days.
Nothing special happening – at least nothing that marks me out as “special” .. just a slowly dawning realisation that for our little family, just like all of yours , life has changed and may not be going back to “normal” anytime soon.
I guess all off us will crash and burn in turn at different times .. but I have just had a couple of days where the enorminity of what is about to happen felt like the weight of a continent on my shoulder.s.
But this morning I drank coffee in my garden and watched the bees pootling about the dandelions (Yup I don’t dead-head the dandelions until they turn to seed cos the bees need all the help that can after a long winter) … and thought that it was about time I came back and started to cope. Instead of wallowing.
So as its Easter Sunday I headed back to my kitchen to pull out an old recipe. This one is for Hot Cross Buns in just 60 minutes .. although I confess as I am in chilly Scots Kitchen mine took 70 minutes from grabbing the first bag of flour to pulling them from the oven. But even so – these are “instant” enough that you can whip up a batch for your family for this afternoon without too much faff!
But you do need to get organised! Firstly – fill up your kettle and set it to boil and warm your oven to about 70 (very low)
Hot Cross Buns – in 60 mins
- 2 tbsp dried yeast
- 260 g milk
- 70 g butter
- 45 g sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 500 g plain flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 180 g dried fruit
FOR THE X Mix
- 30 g cornflour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp water (plus a little splash more if needed)
Measure out the dried fruit …
Cover with boiling water so that it can plump up whilst you are prepping the bread dough. You want soft, pillowy buns with juicy fruit inside and a quick soak will boost the juiciness massively.
Weigh the milk and butter into a bowl and microwave for 60 seconds or so until the milk is warm and the butter melted. Set aside so that the mixture is barely tepid .. too hot and you will kill the yeast!
Measure out your flour, salt and spices ready to add in a few minutes.
Yeast and sugar into a bowl … make it a big one as this is where you will do your mixing. I’m using the dough hook on my stand mixer so its a case of tip everything on top in the right order and press – “Go!”.
If you need to you can do this by hand – but it will take a few minutes longer.
When the milk mixture has cooled pour it on top of the yeast and sugar and give a good stir until the yeast has dissolved.
Set the yeast mixture aside for five minutes.
And you will come back to a frothy head on top – your yeast is now activated and ready to do its job.
Tip the flour and spices mixture on top – crack in your egg and set the mixer to knead for five minutes.
If you need to you can do this by hand but it will take about 9 – 10 minutes to create a smooth stretchy elastic dough.
Remember when I scored this second hand beauty for £8.00 in the Charity Shop? Still love her!!
When you have a smooth dough – tip the drained fruit on top and mix for another minute.
If you are doing this by hand – sprinkle the fruit on bit by bit and make sure its kneaded well into the dough – be aware though the dough can get a bit wet at this stage so you may need a little more four sprinkled on your kneading surface.
Tip out your dough and form into a big ball and then a slightly flattened disc.
Score the disc in halves, then quarters, eighths and finally sixteenths .. each portion will be a bun.
Turn off your pre-heated oven.
Roll each portion into a neat ball and set them on a baking sheet – mine are laid on a silicon baking sheet to stop them sticking.
Pack them about a finger width apart – you want them to prove a little before baking and do that “merge together” thing that Hot Cross Buns do.
Cover with a clean tea towel .. and …
Pop into your turned off oven for fifteen minutes to prove then pull them out and pre-heat you oven to 190 again.
In a small bowl mix the Hot Cross Bun “Cross Mixture” it should create a very think paste. Kind of “slime” consistently”. Don’t be tempted to add too much water or it could all get rather messy.
As soon as your buns have kind of doubled in size … well at least done their reaching out and touching thing …
Give the paste a stir and pop it into a little plastic bag and punch a tiny hole in it to pipe the paste through. I used a flat skewer to pop a hole in mine.
Squeeze the bag to force the paste through and make the traditional cross marks on your buns by running lines first vertically then horizontally over the sheet of buns.
Into the oven for 20 – 22 minutes until they are a dark golden colour.
Now —- they are a bit crispy at this stage .. so to soften them up you can either glaze them or be lazy like I do and just slide them off your baking sheet and toss your clean tea towel back over them.
In a few minutes (enough time to boil the kettle again and make a pot of tea) they will be soft fluffy buns again.
Of course at this point I have kids occupying the kitchen waiting till they are cool enough to split, slather with butter and serve as our Easter Treat.
I know today is hard – to not be withour families on a day when we usually get together. No Grannies and Easter Bonnets and Easter Egg Hunts and rolling of eggs down clover covered hills.
But if you make these and share them with your family – know that they are sent from my wee Scottish family to yours with all the love that this Sunday should bring .. and we can always decorate and roll our eggs together when this is all over XX