This was my second attempt at hot cross buns this week. The first recipe that I followed was from Nigella's Feast and it did not turn out well. Maybe it was something I did or didn't do but I would love to hear if anyone has had succes with that recipe.This time, I modified a Delia Smith recipe - the first of her recipes that I've tried - and it was a winner! I left the dough to prove overnight instead of 1.5 hours, but that's just because it suited our day, then moved from the fridge to our bench yesterday morning before we went to the Good Friday service. Mum, dad, W & W came over after the service to share in a bowl of mum's duck porridge - yummo! In the meatime, I punched the dough down, divided it into 12 round portions and left it to prove again before piping the cross on and baking.
The result - fresh, spicy, fruity and full of flavour, quite unlike the first lot I made which did not rise very much and was therefore quite dense as well as flavourless. I did not have any mixed spice in the pantry and so substituted with ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. I don't remember the exact amounts of each spice that I sprinkled on, but it was definitely more generous than the 1 heaped tablespoon of mixed spice that Delia recommends.
In fact, we did a little taste-testing of this against hot cross buns, both fruit and choc chip, from Browns and choc chip from Bakers Delight and I'm happy to report that both A. & I felt that mine trumped the commercially made ones :-) The homemade ones had a better flavour and were slightly denser, giving them nicer mouth feel.
Hot Cross Buns
50g caster sugar + 1 tsp, 1 tbs dried yeast, 450g strong flour, 1 tsp salt, a few tsp of ground cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger/clove, 125g mixed dried fruit, 40ml warm milk, 1 egg, 50g melted butter. For cross: 2 tbs flour + boiling water to create paste for piping. For glaze: 2 tbs sugar, 2 tbs boiling water.
Stir 1 tsp caster sugar into 150ml tepid water and sprinkle in dried yeast. Leave until frothy.
Sift flour, salt, spices together and add tge remaining 50g sugar and dried fruits. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture, 40ml tepid milk, beaten egg and melted butter. Mix into a dough, transfer to a clean surface and knead until smooth & elastic (around 6 min).
Place back into bowl nd cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place until it rises to double its original volume (place in fridge if leaving overnight). Turn it out & knead it back down to its original size.
Divide dough into 12 portions and arrange on baking sheet. Slash a cross across each one with a sharp knife. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for about 25 min.
Mix the flour and water into a paste suitable for piping and pipe a cross on each portion of dough. Bake at 220C for 15 min, watching carefully that they don't burn.
Brush buns with the glaze as soon as they come out of the oven.