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hot cross buns

hot cross buns.jpg

This recipe was published in my cookbook, The Forest Cantina HOME, in collaboration with: 


Always a treat to eat in April, but if you like them as much as I do, you might want to ‘test the recipe’ in the months to come to make sure it is just right for Easter! I like to make these into 19 buns, which seems like an odd amount, but if you want to bake them in a circular shape as I have, it is just the right number.   
Time: 30 minutes preparation | 1 ½ hour proving | 15 minutes baking  
Makes: 19 small or 12 regular sized buns 
Give: This recipe makes a great homemade gift 
1/2 cup milk 
1/3 cup castor sugar  
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (I use Edmonds brand)  
2 1/2 cups strong bread flour  
2 teaspoons mixed spice 
2 teaspoons cinnamon  
50g (2 ½ tablespoons / 1.7oz) butter, cut into small cubes 
1 free-range egg 
1/2 cup warm water  
1/2 cup sultanas 
1/2 cup currants 
For the crosses 
¾ cup flour  
Approx. 5 teaspoons cold water 
For the glaze 
¼ cup apricot jam 
To serve 
Butter – I used good quality Lewis Road Creamery 

In a small pot, heat the milk and sugar together to a lukewarm temperature. Sprinkle over the yeast and whisk well. Set aside for 10 minutes in a warm spot until foamy.  
Sift the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon in a bowl and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like fine bread crumbs, then make a well in the centre. Beat the egg and warm water into the yeasty milk mixture and then pour into the dry ingredients. Add the sultanas and currants and mix well then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a full 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a large greased bowl, cover with a clean damp towel and set aside in a warm spot for 2 hours or until doubled in size. 
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°C). Line a baking tray with baking paper and set it aside. Turn the proved dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead. Divide the dough into 19 (or 12) balls. You can do this by eye, or weigh the total dough weight then divide that between the number of buns you want to make - weighing each bun as you go to get a perfect size. Arrange the buns on the prepared baking tray, either in a circular shape or in rows of three if baking a dozen, keeping a 1cm (0.3") space between each one. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to prove one final time, for 30 minutes a warm spot.  
To make the crosses, combine the water with the flour in a bowl, adding water little by little so you get a thick paste. Place into a piping bag and with a small hole in the tip and pipe a cross over each bun. Pipe slowly so the crosses drape down the buns slightly.  

Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating trays halfway through and cook until golden brown.  

During the last 5 minutes of cooking, melt the apricot jam in a small pot over medium heat. Pull the buns from the oven when done, and brush the warmly melted jam over the warm buns. Cool slightly before splitting and slathering with butter.  

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