This Easter, forget the perfectly-proportioned supermarket offerings and get really stuck in with some of your very own homemade hot cross buns, fresh from the oven. They taste infinitely better, and are incredibly easy to make – did I mention that they’re delicious?
(Makes about 12)
You will need…
2 oz caster sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
3 oz currants
1 tbsp dried yeast
1 lb, 4 oz plain flour
2 oz chopped mixed peel
1 large, free-range egg (beaten)
1 ½ fl oz warm milk
5 fl oz warm water
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 oz butter (melted)
Sprinkle a teaspoon of caster sugar and all the dried yeast into the bowl of warm water and leave to froth for about ten minutes. (Make sure that it is a generous bowl, as the frothing will take up a couple of extra inches in height)
While this is bubbling away, sift the mixed spice, salt and 1 lb of the flour into a separate bowl, and add the currants, mixed peel and the rest of the caster sugar. Stir together lightly, before making a hollow shape in the middle with your hands – pour the yeast mixture, egg, butter and milk into this. Mix into a dough.
Knead the dough on a clean surface for about five minutes – or until it is elastic and smooth. Put it back in the bowl and cover with a lightly greased sheet of greaseproof paper or a similarly greased clean plastic bag. Leave in a warm, dry place to rise to roughly double the size that it is now (again, make sure that the bowl is big enough!) – This should take about an hour, after which it needs kneading back to its original size.
Divide into 12 equal round blobs, and space them out evenly on a greased oven dish – allow plenty of room for expansion! Leave them again in a warm, dry place for about half an hour – again covering them with the lightly greased bag or sheet of greaseproof paper.
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Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF/gas mark 7). Make a flour-and-water paste in a separate bowl, from the remaining 4 oz (110g) of plain flour and approximately 3 tablespoons of water. Roll this out thinly and divide into small strips, dampening them to seal onto each blob, once the half an hour has elapsed and they have risen.
Bake for about ¼ of an hour – and while they’re in, melt the granulated sugar in two tablespoons of water, over a low heat on the hob/aga. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, glaze them liberally with the sugar mixture, so that they’re nice and sweet and sticky.
Eat as soon as they’re cool enough not to burn your tongue…if you can resist the yummy smell for that long!