I believe 'hot cross buns' was the first song I practiced from a lesson book on the piano, although the first song I learned via my big brothers had to have been either chopsticks or heart and soul. Even as I sing it now, it is tainted with a feeling of frustration, annoyance and resent from having to do it over and over again.
Even if the tune became annoying after repeated exposure, the buns they sing of could return time and time again, I would welcome them with open arms. They're my favorite combination of spice and sweet, they're moist and dense, they have an interesting history, and they are reminiscent of my favorite time of year.
Today's zupas post is a bit of history about these little biddy's, so hop on over to learn a little more about them. Then hop on back and make some yourself, it will bring you good luck! heaven knows you may need it after all the tricks you played yesterday.
have a lovely holiday weekend.
and of course, happy easter.
I especially love the little candy-like crunch the glaze and piped topping create after being baked for a bit. off to have some for brekkie.
rustic lil' hot cross buns
adapted from le cordon bleu
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
2/3 cup milk (i used almond and rice milk)
3-4 cups unbleached bread flour
1/4 cup raw sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ginger
scant 1/2 teaspoon cloves
3 Tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon enerG egg replacer whisked with 5 Tablespoons warm water or 2 extra large eggs from happy galivanting chickens
1/2 cup earth balance or butter
1 cup golden raisins
4 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons raw sugar
dash of vanilla
2-3 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons raw sugar
1/4 cup milk (milk or almond)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
large pinch cloves
small pinch allspice
dissolve yeast and a large pinch of the sugar into the milk. Whisk together the enerG egg replacer and water, or lightly whisk the eggs.
double sift 3 cups of the flour with the sugar, salt and spices into a large bowl. Make a well in the center, add proofed yeast and "eggs". Gradually bring the mixture together with your hands, or in mixer adding reserved flour as needed until a soft dough forms.
Here's the fun part. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic. Place dough into mixer, add butter and knead with dough hook until the dough is very soft. You can also do this step by hand.
Place dough in coconut oiled (or buttered) ceramic or glass bowl (not metal) cover with a clean damp towel, allow to proof in oven with pilot light on until doubled in size. You can alternatively proof at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead raisins into dough until evenly distributed. Divide in half and in half again until you have sixteen equal portions. Tuck sides under and in to make a small smooth roll, set on oiled/buttered baking sheet about a half inch apart. cover with a clean damp towel and let proof until doubled in size. When they are touching, preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. (and of course remove them from the oven if you are proofing them inside!)
Make the topping by mixing together the flour, sugar and vanilla. Add water until a thick paste forms. It should be thicker rather than thinner or else it will not keep prominent lines when baked. Spoon into a pastry bag or plastic bag with corner snipped off. Pipe two lines perpendicular to each other on the buns so they each have a cross. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden on top and bottom.
While they are baking, prepare the glaze by heating and whisking all the ingredients in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. When the buns are about a minute from being done, brush a little glaze on the tops and bake for one minute more. Brush the tops again immediately after removing from the oven, and after transferring them to a cooling rack, brush those tops one last time. Serve hot, alone or with a bit of butter.