March 28, 2010

Hot Cross Buns - The Australian Easter Treat

Now I must admit I've never been a big fan of the spicy buns Australians like to eat at Easter time, and I finally realised why! It's because I've never had home made ones before. I don't mean to brag, but these buns were so so yummy and so much better than any shop bought ones I've ever tasted! Why oh why don't more people make them themselves? The best thing, besides the taste of course, is that these ones are not filled with preservatives and whatnot. I highly recommend you to try these at home!

Hot Cross Buns (makes 12 big buns)

4 cups plain flour
14 g dry yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup sultanas
40 g unsalted butter
300 ml milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Flour paste

1/2 cup plain flour
4 to 5 tbs water

Sugar Glace

1/3 cup water
2 tbs caster sugar

Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, spices and sultanas in a large bowl. Melt butter in a pan and add in milk. Heat until about 42 C. Add the warm milk mixture and eggs to the dry ingredients and stir well. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth. If the dough feels too hard, water your hands with warm water and knead the dough (this incorporates just enough water to make the dough softer). Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Knead the risen dough until smooth and divide into 12 equal sized portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on the tray. Cover the tray with cling wrap or tea towel and let the buns rise for another half an hour. In the mean while, preheat the over to 190 C.

To make the flour paste combine the flour with water and mix into a smooth paste. Pipe the flour paste onto the risen buns to form crosses. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes (turn the tray half way to ensure even baking) or until nicely browned.

Make the glace: place sugar and water in a pan and let boil for 5 minutes stirring every now and then. Brush the warm buns with the glace. Serve warm with butter.

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