Hot cross buns – the Easter scone

Hot cross buns Waitrose magazine

It’s a bit of a ritual now that whenever I go to visit my parents, I leave with a copy of the latest Waitrose magazine from my Dad (himself a loyal Waitrose shopper; sadly a bit above my every-day grocery budget). So it seems fitting that whenever they visit me, I select a recipe or two from said magazine to create for their delight.

It being Easter, hot cross buns were on today’s menu, as this recipe* from The Great British Bake Off‘s Edd Kimber has been on my to-do list for a few weeks now. I’m not a big bread baker so I don’t have a whole lot of experience working with dough, but there is something incredibly satisfying about tucking away the dough in the airing cupboard and watching it double in size within an hour.

I chose to serve the buns as desserts – one each, cut in half through the middle, accompanied by Cornish clotted cream and fresh strawberries with a sprinkling of sugar. A sort of Easter scone if you like.

Unfortunately, the day didn’t get off to the best start, given that I had overlooked the fact that the UK make it illegal (yes, actually illegal) for certain businesses to open on Easter Sunday (seriously, what century are we living in?), and a few ingredients for our roast dinner were still to be bought. Fortunately Tesco Express garage grocery stores seem to overlook this draconian Resurrection ruling and came to our aid. Praise be the multi-culturalism of South London.

Given the delays induced by this run-around, I somewhat cocked up the timings, but the blessing-in-disguise was that rather than being baked well ahead of lunch, the buns actually only went into the oven as we sat down to eat, meaning they were gloriously warm when served, just in time for dessert. As a result, if you are serving them in this way, I would recommend baking whilst on the main course, so they are fresh from the oven. De-lish.

Ingredients (I made 12 buns from these quantities, though the recipe says 9):

  • 450g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 7g sachet of easy bake yeast
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 120g raisins
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil, for greasing
  • 50g plain flour
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup

Method:

  1. Mix the bread flour, salt, spices, sugar and yeast in a large bowl.
  2. In a small pan, warm the milk and butter over a low heat until the butter is melted. Add the zest and raisins and leave to cool for 2-3 minutes until just warm, then beat in the egg.
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture, stirring to make a soft dough.
  4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead for about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and put in a lightly oiled bowl; cover with clingfilm. Leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size [my favourite bit; besides eating them].
  5. Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface and flatten to knock out some of the air. Divide it into equal pieces (around 100 grams each – I made 12) and roll into balls. Place about 2cm apart on a baking tray [I used two] lined with baking parchment; lightly cover with greased clingfilm. Leave to rise for 40 minutes.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6) and remove the clingfilm. For the crosses, mix the plain flour and water into a thick paste and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle. Pipe on the crosses. Bake for 20-25 minutes [if using two baking trays on different shelves, swap halfway through].
  7. Gently heat the golden syrup in a pan and brush over the warm buns with a pastry brush. Cool a little before serving – serving suggestion above.

Hot cross buns

*Get more delicious recipes from Edd on his blog, theboywhobakes.co.uk – home of my next Macarons challenge (double chocolate ganache, I mean COME ON, the guy’s a genius.)

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