Nigel Slater, I just love your buns!!! Your hot cross buns that is! Sturdy, spicy and stogged full of fruit, these hot cross buns are just what I am looking for in a good hot cross bun!
I subscribe to Sainsbury's magazine and the first thing I do when it drops through my post box each month is to open it up to Nigel Slater's article of the month. I am NEVER disappointed. I think you all know what I think of Nigel Slater . . . He and I are culinary kindred spirits . . . for sure!
The May issue has Nigel waxing poetic on the endearing qualities of what makes a good hot cross bun . . . in Nigel's words . . . all plump and shiny, split, toasted and buttered. Speckled with not just dried fruit but mixed peel. Round, not square, buttered with generosity and . . . most important of all . . . homemade.
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel . . . from your mouth to God's ears . . . these buns would make even the angels sing I am sure!
They were really easy for this yeast bread challenged baker to make. I was thoroughly impressed with my results. Not a light, soft and doughy bread like those hot cross buns you get in the shops . . . these are wholesome and sturdy . . . they smell heavenly when they are baking. You will be so happy when the aroma wafts through your home, bringing with it all the hope and smell of Easter itself.
Oh so pretty with their brown sugar glazed crust, these please on all levels. Nigel recommends tearing them apart before toasting and I heartily concur . . . this gives you lovely crags and crevices to tuck all of that delicious fruited butter into.
Oh, did I forget to mention the butter???? There's butter to go with these. A heavily fruited, stogged full of dried cherries and apricots, and lightly spiced, maple sweetened butter. Need I say more???
*Nigel's Hot Cross Buns*
A sturdy fruit filled bun. Oh so delicious, split, toasted and spread with the tasty fruit butter showcased below.
450g plain flour (3 1/4 cups)
plus more to flour board
1 (7g) sachet of easy bake dried yeast (1 package of easy bake yeast)
50g of soft light brown sugar (one generous third of a cup, packed)
1 tsp of ground mixed spice (see recipe in side bar)
75g of sultanas (a scant half cup)
50g of mixed peel (about 1/4 cup)
40g of currants (1/3 cup)
1 large free range egg, beaten
225ml of milk (1 cup)
50g of butter (5 TBS)
for the glaze:
2 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed
Measure the flour, yeast, sugar, spice, sultanas, peel and currants into a large bowl. Warm the milk slightly along with the butter. Allow to cool to a temperature that you can handle putting your fingers into. Dump the egg and milk/butter mixture into the flour mixture. Mix together with a fork to make a soft dough. It will be sticky. Turn out onto a generously floured board. Knead for 5 to 6 minutes until you have a soft elastic dough. Place into an oiled bowl. Turn and then cover loosely with a tea towel. Place in a warm, draft free, place to rise. Allow to rise until double in size, about an hour.
Divide the dough into 12 equal sized pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Cover loosely with a tea towel and set aside to rise again, in a warm draft free place for about half an hour or so.
Preheat the oven to 425*C/220*C/ gas ark 8. Score the top of each bun with a very sharp knife in a cross pattern. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until nicely browned and crisp on the outsides.
While the buns are baking put the brown sugar for the glaze into a bowl. Pour on 4 TBS of kettle boiled water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Brush this mixture on top of the buns as soon as you bring the out of the oven to glaze. Reove the buns to a rack to cool. Split in half and toast under a grill before eating.
Makes enough for 12 buns
You can freeze this, or it will keep for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Spicy, fruity and delicious.
200g of unsalted butter (13 3/4 TBS)
50g of dried cherries (about 1/4 cup)
75g of dried apricots (about 1/2 cup)
pinch of ground cinnamon
3 TBS pure maple syrup
Cut the butter into small bits and put into a large bowl. Chop the cherries and apricots until you get small bits, not too coarse, but not too fine either. Add to the butter along with the cinnamon. Beat with an electric whisk on slow, drizzling in the maple syrup as you beat, until you get a slightly darkened mixture. Don't add too much maple syrup or the mixture will curdle. Scrape onto a piece of parchment baking paper. Shape ino a short thick roll. Roll up the baking paper around it, twisting the ends to enclose. Chill for at least 4 hours before using, or up to 4 to 5 days. Can be frozen.
To use, slice into thick rounds and then spread on top of split and toasted hot cross buns.