With Easter just around the corner, why not treat your loved ones to hot cross buns for breakfast! These delicious, sweet, spicy buns, filled with mixed dry fruits (raisins and sultanas) are made with yeast. Never used yeast before? Fear not! It is very easy to use!
Ingredients (makes 18 buns)
4½ cups wheat flour ½ cup sugar
2 cups milk ½ cup sunflower oil
2¼ tsp active dry yeast ½ heaped tsp baking powder
½ heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 level tsp salt
¼ cup sugar (extra) 1 tsp mixed spices
½ tsp cinnamon ½ cup raisins & sultanas
For the egg wash
1 egg A few drops of milk
For the glaze
1 egg Icing sugar, sieved
A little milk
1. Lightly grease a baking tray. In a large bowl, put the milk, oil and ½ cup of sugar in a saucepan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then heat until warm, but not boiling. Cool until comfortably warm to touch.
2. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture. Add four cups of flour and stir to make sticky mixture. Cover with a clean, dry dish cloth, set aside for one hour.
3. After I hour, in a small bowl, mix the remaining ½ cup of flour, baking powder and bicarbonate soda. Add to the yeast mixture and blend with a wooden spoon until well combined.
4. Mix the ¼ cup sugar with the mixed spices and cinnamon powder. Lightly sprinkle flour on your work surface with a little wheat flour. Put the dough over the floured surface and press it to flatten slightly. Sprinkle over the dough, two tablespoons of the sugar and spice mixture and a third of the mixed fruits. Fold one end of the dough over the other and flatten again.
5. Sprinkle the sugar and spice mixture and fruits on top of the dough and fold it over once again. Repeat this process once more. Put the remaining spice mixture aside.
6. With floured hands break off small golf ball-sized pieces of dough and roll into balls. Place on the greased baking tray, cover with a clean, dry dish cloth and leave to raise in a warm place for
1½ hours. Heat the oven to 200C/ 400F/ gas mark 5, for 15 min.
To make the egg wash: Beat the egg with a small splash of milk mixed with the remaining spice mixture and brush over each bun. Bake in the oven until nice and golden. Cool completely on wire rack.
To make icing: Separate egg yolk from egg white. Break it over your cupped hand with fingers slightly apart over a bowl so that the egg white runs in to the bowl and the yolk remains in your hand. Gradually add some icing sugar, mixing well with a wooden spoon or electric mixer after each addition. Continue adding icing sugar until thick, smooth and glossy. Put icing in a ziploc or plastic bag and snip off a small piece of one corner. Drizzle over each bun, once horizontally and once vertically, to make a cross sign. Allow the icing to set before serving and enjoy!