Friday 3 April | 2015
This is what Easter looks like in Sydney, a particularly devastating scene if you are living in Germany at the moment and also had the April Fool’s Day snow shower (which was really not a joke). Alas, we cannot take to the warm sands of Tamarama Beach this weekend, but we can bring the traditional hot cross buns home to our table.
Hot cross buns are spiced fruit buns made a little bit special with piped crosses on top. In recent years they have been ‘adapted’ with chocolate instead of fruit, but we sit squarely in the traditionalist camp where currants and raisins reign. This recipe is time consuming, but your weekend is 4 days long and for the homesick Anzacs they are really worth it.
¾ cup milk, warmed slightly
10g fresh yeast
3 heaped tbs brown sugar
2 ¼ cups high-grade flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp nutmeg
¾ tsp allspice
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt
Seeds scraped from 1/3 vanilla bean
50g butter, softened
¾ – 1 cup raisins (depending on how many you like)
1 ½ tbs zest from orange and lemon
Plus ¼ cup flour extra, and 1 tbs caster sugar extra
1) Put the warm milk, yeast and sugar in a bowl and stir. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot (in the sun or near a heater) for 10-15 minutes until frothy.
2) Add the flour, spices, salt, eggs and vanilla seeds and knead with a dough hook on low speed. Add the butter a little at a time.
3) Increase the speed and knead for 12 minutes, resting for 30 seconds every 2 minutes.
4) Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
5) Add the dried fruit, mix well and cover again with plastic wrap, leaving to rise for 1 hour.
6) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Divide dough into 8 balls and place on a baking paper lined tray. The balls should be just touching each other. Place a clean tea towel over the tray, and leave again in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise.
7) While the buns are rising, make the cross paste with the extra flour and 1/4 cup of water. Place the paste into a small plastic sealable bag and snip the corner to make a piping bag.
8) Pipe crosses on the buns and place in the oven for 20 minutes. While they are baking, make the glaze with the extra sugar and 1 tbs boiling water. Brush over the hot cooked buns and leave on a tray to cool before serving.
Makes 8. Recipe adapted from Cuisine magazine, one of the best food magazines in the world.
Brown sugar is difficult to find in Europe, at least the regular soft sort that we have down under. We used muscovado sugar that we found in a health food store with good results.
The spices, auf Deutsch: cinnamon = Zimt, nutmeg = Muskatnuss, allspice = Piment, ginger = Ingwer, cloves = Nelken.
Mixed peel is a key ingredient in hot cross buns, but it is near impossible to find in Germany. We used zest of an orange and lemon and it’s almost as good.