Hot Cross Buns v.2

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Hot cross buns are an Easter classic, which I remember from my childhood.  This version is adapted from Marie Rayner’s book The Best of British Baking: Classic Sweet Treats and Savory Bakes.  The photo shows a half recipe.  The only hard part of halving the recipe was including half of a beaten egg (i.e. 2 Tbs.)

I learned from her book that in England it is common to have a pastry cross baked on top, whereas in the US I had only ever seen an icing cross, which is what I made.  I made the icing cross out of a cream cheese icing.

I had them rise overnight in the refrigerator so that I could have them freshly baked in the morning.

This recipe will make 12 rolls.  It takes about 30 minutes of preparation time plus at least 2 hours of rising time, and then 15 minutes to bake.

For the buns

3¼ cups (450 grams) bread flour, plus more for dusting

¼ cup (50 grams) fine granulated sugar (caster sugar)

2¼ teaspoons fast-acting yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon mixed spice (see note below)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3½ tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

⅔ cup (160 mL) lukewarm milk

¼ cup (60 mL) lukewarm water

1 large egg, lightly beaten

½ cup (75 grams) dried raisins or currants

⅓ cup (50 grams) chopped candied peel

For the glaze

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the icing

2 oz. cream cheese

4 tsp. whole milk

1-1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar

Dash of salt

34 tsp. vanilla

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the bowl of a stand mixer.  In a small bowl, whisk together the melted and cooled butter, milk, water, and egg. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  Then sprinkle on the yeast and wait 5 minutes.

Add the raisins and candied peel.  Mix everything together with a dough whisk.  Cover and rest (autolyze) for 15 minutes.

Knead with the dough hook on low speed for 3-5 minutes to form a smooth dough.  Put in a doubling container and coat the dough with a little oil.  Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.

Line 2 cookie sheets with a silicon mat or baking parchment.

Tip the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a log.  Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. (You can weigh the dough on a scale and then divide it by 12. This is the weight each piece of dough should be.) Shape each piece into a round, poking any currants or peel that pop out back into the dough.

Place the buns spaced well apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand and cut a cross into the top of each one with a sharp knife. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes on the counter, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.

Bake the buns for 15 minutes, until golden brown. They should sound hollow when tapped on the bottoms when done. While the buns are baking, prepare the sugar glaze by gently heating the water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Brush this mixture over the hot buns as soon as they come out of the oven.

While the buns are cooling, mix together the cream cheese icing.  Put it in a small ziplock baggie.  Cut off a small part of a corner and use it to pipe a cross on each of the cooled buns.

Rayner, Marie. The Best of British Baking: Classic Sweet Treats and Savory Bakes (pp. 141-142). Rockridge Press. Kindle Edition. sugar dissolves. Brush this mixture over the hot buns as soon as they come out of the oven. Variation Tip: To make a glacé icing to pipe crosses on top, whisk together ½ cup (65 grams) icing (confectioners’) sugar and just enough cold water to make a thick glaze. Pop this into a small resealable plastic bag. Cut a small part from one corner of the baggie and use this to pipe crosses onto the tops of the completely cooled buns.

Mixed spice: This is a specialty baking spice, similar to pumpkin or apple pie spice. The British use it a lot in their baking. Marie Rayner recommends making it by mixing together 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon each ground coriander and ground or grated nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and ¼ teaspoon each ground cloves and ground allspice. Store in an airtight container, out of the light, for up to 6 months.  What I actually did was make a rough approximation with 2 parts cinnamon and 1 part each of allspice and ginger.

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