Apologies for the long hiatus everyone - been very busy again, but that's a story for another blog post!
This post is dedicated to that Easter favourite, hot cross buns! I know I've done this recipe before, but it's so good I couldn't resist doing it again. It's a Paul Hollywood recipe from his book (my baking Bible) How To Bake, so if you've got the time, or you're looking for something to do to entertain the kids this Easter, give these babies a go - you will not be disappointed!
INGREDIENTS: (makes 12 buns)
for the buns...
500g strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
10g fast action yeast
75g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter, softened
2 medium eggs, beaten
120ml warm milk
120ml cool water
80g chopped mixed peel
1 apple, cored and diced
2 tsp cinnamon
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
for the crosses...
75g plain flour
for the glaze...
1 - 2 tsp apricot jamA splash of water
Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, adding the salt and sugar to one side and the yeast to the other. Add the butter, eggs, milk and half of the water and mix together with your hands until your mixture forms a clumpy dough. Gradually add the remaining water until all the flour is picked up off the bottom of the bowl (you may need all of the water, but you might need only a little or none at all). Your dough should be soft and sticky, but not wet.
When the mixture has formed a dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead. You will need to work through the initial wet stage and after about 5 - 10 minutes your dough should have formed a soft, silky skin.
When your dough is silky-soft, place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave for 1 - 2 hours, or until the dough has at least doubled in size.
In the meantime, weigh out your peel, sultanas and cinnamon, grate the zest of your oranges and core and dice your apple. Scatter half of this mixture on your work surface and wait for your dough to finish proving.
Once proved, turn your dough out onto your fruit-laden surface and cover with the rest of the fruit mixture. Knead together until all of the fruit is incorporated into the dough. Return to the bowl and leave to prove for a further hour.
Turn your twice-proved dough out onto your work surface and beat it repeatedly to knock all of the air out of it. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Place close together on a baking tray lined with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.
Cover in cling film and leave to prove for one final hour until the buns have doubled in size. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius, 200 degrees if you have a fan oven. Mix together the flour and water for your crosses and pipe in lines over your proved buns using a narrow nozzle.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Whilst your buns are baking, gently heat your apricot jam with a splash of water in a saucepan. When your buns are ready, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Whilst your buns are still warm, brush with your apricot glaze and leave to cool completely before eating.
These beauties are best served toasted and slathered with butter, oh and of course a steaming hot cup of tea!