Now I’m not the biggest fan of dried fruit in buns as such, but when it comes to Easter, I just can’t go past indulging in the hot cross variety. So this Easter, knowing I would actually be spending it with family and friends, I decided to attempt a batch. I was so inspired by my cooking bug I also made a few hot cross cookies too!
Easter isn’t always a time I spend with my family. They live in the country and the road at this time of the year is usually a death trap so I tend to avoid it. But this Easter I decided to brave the open yet completely congested road that is the Hume Highway and take one of my friends and her mum – who is visiting from New Zealand – to see the countryside. The road seemed to be great, until we hit the Metropolitan Ring Road and we ground to a halt. When we finally did make it, my Mum was impressed to see the tray of fresh hot cross buns and cookies I’d made the previous day. They did look pretty good for my first attempt.
This recipe is from Blue Ribbon Recipes – Prize Winning Recipes from the Sydney Royal Easter Show
1 tsp dried yeast
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups plain flour
1 & 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup plain flour, extra
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp sugar, extra
1 tbsp hat water
1 tsp gelatine
Lightly grease 18x28cm lamington tin.
Cream yeast with 1 teaspoon each of the sugar and flour, add milk and mix well.
Cover and stand in warm place 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture is frothy.
Sift sugar, flour, salt and spices together and rub in butter. Add egg, sultanas and yeast mixture and bring together with a butter knife.
Tip out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly to ensure ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until dough doubles in bulk.
Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface and knead well until smooth and elastic.
Cut into 3 equal pieces and then cut into 5, making 15 buns altogether. Knead each one into a round shape and place in the greased tin for 10 to 15 minutes or until they reach the top edge of the tin.
Preheat oven to 220c.
Make a paste by mixing 1/2 cup of the extra flour and 1/3 cup of water, fill piping bag (or zip lock bag and cut off one corner) and pipe a cross on each bun. (Keep it a little thin as it gets very sticky and hard to get consistent crosses)
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from oven immediately and brush with glaze made from heating extra sugar, hot water and gelatine in a small saucepan, simmering for one minute.
Let cool in tin or turn out onto a wire rack before devouring with butter!
185g butter softened
1 cup castor sugar
2 & 1/2 plain flour
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
for cinnamon icing (that I didn’t use):
3/4 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.
Add the flour, egg and yolk and process until a smooth dough forms.
Knead the dough lightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180 c
Roll out dough between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper until 5mm thick.
Cut the dough into rounds using a 5cm-round cookie cutter.
Place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden.
Cool on a wire rack.
*To make the icing, combine sugar water and cinnamon and mix until smooth.
Put the icing into a piping bag (or zip lock bag and cut out one corner) and pipe a cross on each biscuit.
*Because I was feeling very tired and lazy by the time I had finished the buns and the cookies, I didn’t bother with the icing. Instead, I thought I’d be clever and use a tube of white chocolate writing fudge. It looked great and saved time but it doesn’t set like icing so unfortunately it stuck to other cookies when they were stacked. Don’t be lazy like me. Make the icing instead.