Until this year, I’ve been a Hot Cross Bun virgin, as I had never even tasted one. They did not exist in Brazil as I was growing up, but are very popular in many places of the world, United Kingdom, USA, Australia, New Zealand. They are usually served on Good Friday, to mark the end of Lent. They are marked with a cross to represent the Crucifixion of Jesus, and contain spices that were said to be used to embalm his body. Some point their origin to the year 1361 in a monastery in St Albans, England. But that is debatable. What is not debatable is how delicious they are, and how much I regret having waited so long to make them.
HOT CROSS BUNS
(very slightly modified from Global Bakes)
for the buns:
180 mL milk warmed to 110 degrees F
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (I used osmo-tolerant yeast)
100 grams light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons greek yogurt, at room temperature
70 grams (5 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
460 grams all-purpose flour, divided
40 g dried figs, finely minced)
100 g raisins
zest of 1 large orange
for the flour cross:
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons cold water
for the glaze:
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons sugar
Make the Buns
Whisk together the warm milk, yeast, and granulated sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until yeast becomes frothy.
Add to the bowl the brown sugar, butter, yogurt, eggs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and 125 grams (1 cup) of the flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds or stir by hand. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour, the dried fruit, and the orange zest. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky and soft. If it’s too sticky and not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, mix in additional flour 1 Tablespoon at a time just until it comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead in the machine for about 4 minutes in low-speed, then transfer the dough to a greased bowl and allow it to ferment for 2 hours at room temperature.
Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan. When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Weigh the dough and divide it into 15 roughly equal pieces (my pieces were 77g each). Shape each piece into a smooth ball, pinching it on the bottom to seal. Arrange in prepared baking pan. Cover shaped rolls and place in the fridge overnight.
Remove the shaped buns from the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Heat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the cross ingredients, adjusting consistency with water or flour so that it is thick enough to form a stable design. Spoon paste into a piping bag. Pipe a line down the center of each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. If you notice the tops browning too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil. Five minutes before they are done, make the glaze by boiling milk and sugar until sugar is fully dissolved and the glaze thickens slightly.
When they buns are baked, remove from the oven and immediately brush with the warm glaze. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy still warm or at room temperature.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: Tanya was my source of inspiration, she actually made those for the first time also this year, and I just tagged along. I did not have many different kinds of dried fruits in our pantry, so I used just raisins and dried Mission figs. The whole batch went to the homeless meal that happened to fall exactly on Good Friday, but Phil and I decided to share one because I really had to know how they taste.
I loved it! The bread is soft, reminds me a bit of a cinnamon roll, but not as decadent. I like the addition of baking powder to the flour paste, which I saw in Celia’s blog post of years ago. I think it makes it a bit lighter.
Making them was a very nice, trouble-free process (discreet knock on wood, don’t want to upset the baking gods, as I intend to make macarons in the near future). I hope you give Tanya’s recipe a try, in her site you can see how to do it in a single day.
Thank you Tanya (globalbakes.com), for your constant inspiration! Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home… and let’s bake!
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