Richard Bertinet’s Hot Cross Buns

Baking

I think its a shame that you can buy hot cross buns all year


round. They are such a treat – but more so when they are only around at Easter. There is something wonderful about making your own – rich in spice and fruit and a little sticky to the touch.I like to make a big batch and freeze some so that I don’t run out.

Ingredients

MAKES 20

For the cross paste

100g/31⁄2oz/ 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp plain flour

a pinch of salt

1 tsp vegetable oil

For the buns

1⁄2 tsp mixed spice

80g/23⁄4oz/ 1/3 cup mixed peel

180g/61⁄4oz/3⁄4 cup currants or sultanas

250ml/9fl oz/1 cup full-fat milk

3 large eggs

60g/21⁄4oz/1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, diced

500g/1lb 2oz/2 cups strong bread flour

2 tbsp caster sugar

20g/3⁄4oz fresh yeast

1⁄4 tsp salt

For the rum sugar syrup glaze

100g/31⁄2oz/scant 1⁄2 cup sugar

100ml/31⁄2fl oz/1⁄2 cup water

2 tbsp dark rum

Method

1 First make the cross paste. Sift the flour into a bowl. add the salt and oil, then add 4 tbsp water a little at a time to form a paste that can be piped. Set aside until required.

2 To make the buns,put the mixed spice, mixed peel and currants or sultanas into a bowl and set aside. Tip the milk and 1 egg into a mixer with the dough hook attached. add the butter, flour, sugar, yeast and salt and mix slow speed for 5 minutes, until the mixture forms a dough. increase the speed to medium for 6–8 minutes, or until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, add the spice and fruit mix on a slow speed for 1–2 minutes. 3 Turn the dough out onto a worktop and form it into a ball. Put it back into the mixing bowl, cover with a clean cloth and leave it to rest in a draught-free place for an hour. 4 When the dough has risen and nearly doubled in size,carefully tip it out on to your work surface and divide it into satsuma size balls. Roll each piece into a tight ball and place them on a buttered baking tray, close to each other. 5 Make an egg wash by beating the remaining 2 eggs with a pinch of salt. Brush each bun with a little egg wash and place in a warm place for about 11⁄2 hours, until risen. 6 Preheat a fan oven to 190°C/375°F/gas4. If you don’t have a fan oven, adjust the temperature according to your oven manufacturer’s instructions. Brush the buns again with the egg wash and pipe a cross on top of each one, using the cross paste. Bake in the oven for 18–20 minutes. Remove the buns from the oven and transfer them to wire racks to cool.

7 For the rum sugar syrup glaze, mix the sugar and 100ml/31⁄2fl oz/1⁄2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil for4 minutes. add the rum. Brush over the top of the cooled buns. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. alternatively freeze and defrost at room temperature before serving.

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