As I was talking to my uncle Herbie yesterday I mentioned to him that I was planning to make some hot cross buns. He immediately commenced into telling me stories about Easter in Guyana and how early on Good Friday morning, a lady would come down the street singing at the top of her lungs, “Run a lady run, the rain is coming down, one a penny, two a penny hot cross buns…” The kids would run out to meet her and buy some buns but for the most part, my grandmother baked her own.
In Botswana, my parents would buy them from a bakery but I don’t remember being particularly fond of them as a kid. It must have been the raisins. As mentioned before, I DO NOT like raisins in baked goods. Although, I will never say no to a good piece of black cake or carrot cake J and I have been known to scrape off most of the currants in currant rolls leaving just a few on the pastry so that I still taste the sweetness. Weird I know. But I digress.
My parents used to tell me stories of kite flying by the seawall in Guyana during the Easter weekend. They talked about the kites of different shapes, sizes and colors floating in the sky. My brothers and I would make our own kites and fly them around the yard in an attempt to recreate those stories. And then of course, there were stories of the Bartica Regatta…whoop whoop shout out to all my Bartica peeps! Yes, I spent the first few days of my life in Bartica so it has a special place in my heart. I so need to plan a visit. Anywho, the Bartica Regatta started as an annual boat race but has now evolved to include concerts, games and other sporting events. Speaking of sports, people also gather to watch and play cricket. Wicket! Wicket!
Ok, back to the buns. I got the recipe below from the Joy of Baking. They came out really well. I included the dried fruits in the recipe but only put a handful of raisins in the ones I made – much to uncle Herbie’s chagrin :)!
1 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast (8.75 g)
½ teaspoon white sugar
3 ½ – 4 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground clove
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg lightly beaten
1/3 cup currants, raisins, dried cranberries
1/3 cup candied fruit
1 tablespoon milk
Glaze (I doubled the ingredients)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk or cream
In a small saucepan or microwave, heat the milk until it is lukewarm (about 100 degrees F or 38 decrees C). Add the yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar and stir to combine with. Set aside for 10 minutes or until the yeasty is foamy.
Meanwhile in the bowl of your electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, spices and salt.
Once the yeast is foamy, gradually add to the flour mixture and beat until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Add the melted butter and egg and beat until incorporated.
With the mixer on medium low speed, with the dough hook, gradually add the candied/dried fruit and continue to knead the dough until it is silky smooth and elastic. Add more flour if necessary. Note form SapBrw: If you don’t have a mixer, do it the old fashioned way with your hands. That’s what I did.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Turning the dough once so that the top is lightly greased. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise until almost doubled in size (about 1 ½ – 2 hours).
When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it down to release the air, and divide into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a small round ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet (place three buns to a row, four rows all together). They should be spaced so that they have enough room to double in size.
Make an egg wash with the egg and milk. Brush the tops of the buns with the wash. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap. Lightly spray plastic wrap with a nonstick cooking spray and place lightly over the buns. Place in a warm spot until almost doubled in size (about 60 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and with clean kitchen shears (or a sharp lightly greased knife), cut a “cross” in the top of each bun. Place baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the buns are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before glazing.
Combine the confectioner’s sugar with milk and mix until smooth. Place the glaze in a paper cone or a small plastic bag. Cut the end of the come or bag and pipe a “cross” on the top of each bun.
Makes 12 buns
Enjoy the buns on their own, toasted with butter, with cheese, or with your favorite jam. The options are endless.
Happy Easter Everyone!
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