I celebrated the start of the Easter weekend by baking sweet and sticky, orange, apple and sultana hot cross buns, glazed with a honey and sugar syrup – simply perfect and delicious.
To be honest, I’m not that much of a hot cross bun fan – I’ve tried shop bought and they’ve always been a bit too dry. This Easter I decided rather than making cupcakes, tiffin or Creme Egg brownies, I thought I’d give myself a challenge at baking some buns.
I followed a recipe by Jamie Oliver, but adapted it at certain stages.
I began my baking task by infusing the milk and water with a cinnamon stick. The infusion from the cinnamon gave the liquid mixture a spicy, fragrant scent.
Rather than simply adding dried fruit, I opted for lots of fresh flavours including orange, apple, cinnamon and nutmeg. I also added some mixed spices which I often use when cooking savoury dishes, but found it really helped to lift the flavour of the fruit and bun.
One of the reasons why I love to bake bread is the kneading part. I find it weirdly therapeutic and love seeing the different formats the bread goes through.
Before I began kneading the bread, it was a huge sticky mixture. I had to add a lot more flour to the mixture in order to make the kneading process easier. But once I managed to get it into a soft, elastic state I set it aside to rise.
The dough prior to the first proof..
After proofing for one hour…
After the dough rose, I began to knead the extra apple and orange zest, plus the sultanas, into the mix.
Once the dough was perfectly stuffed with the fruit, I divided the batch into 12 balls.
I left the dough balls to rise for a second time (approx. 30 minutes) and then transferred them into the pre-heated oven.
This is when a little disaster struck. I put 3 of the buns into the oven to test the temperature. After a few minutes, I thought I could smell burning. I opened my oven and a wave of black smoke flew out – the baking paper burnt. In a little panic, I asked Adriana if I could use her oven and so she opened her kitchen to me and my buns.
Luckily after 20 minutes in the oven, my hot cross buns were ready to be glazed with a simple sugar syrup and drizzled with honey.
Once all of the buns were covered in a sweet and sticky glaze, I tested one with lashings of butter and in all honesty, it was the best HCB I’ve ever had.
The buns were full with fresh, fragrant flavours. They were crispy on the outside, but lovely and soft on the inside . I think for my first ever attempt at hot cross buns I did rather well! I think next time I make the buns, I would work on my crosses as the flour mixture was a bit too runny. I would also try different flavourings to stuff the buns with and to make them that little bit more contemporary.
I found Jamie’s recipe really simple to follow and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to bake some hot cross buns for the first time.
I hope you all have a great Easter! I’m currently cooking a three course Easter dinner for my family, whilst enjoying a hot cross bun with a big cup of tea.
Have a lovely day and happy eating!