Hot Cross Buns
Makes 2 dozen
For the buns:
1 cup milk
1 cup hot water
4 teaspoons instant dried yeast - use the one in the sachet, it's always fresher.
100g softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
5 cups high grade flour
3 cups mixed dried fruit - this year I used 2 cups of raisins, 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 cup chopped crystallised ginger
For the crosses
3 tablespoons flour
1-2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
a plastic disposable piping bag
For the glaze
3 tablespoons honey
Measure all the ingredients except the flour and fruit into a large bowl. Whisk them together; down worry if the butter stays in lumps.
Add the flour and using one hand stir the mixture around until a dough forms.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bench and knead until the dough is smooth and resilient when pressed.
It is a sticky little number, so just persevere even when it seems to stick to everything.
Once it's sufficiently elastic, sprinkle the bench with a little flour and knead the fruit into the dough.
Leave the dough in the bowl in a warm place until it has at least doubled in size - as shown.
Once sufficiently risen, turn out of the bowl and knead lightly.
Preheat the oven to just 40deg. C.
Divide the dough into two and cover the half you are not working on.
Divide each half into four, then each four into three individual buns.
Shape the buns by rolling then in small circles between the bench and the open palm of your hand as shown.
Put into the 40 degree oven to prove for about 30 minutes. The buns should have doubled in size as shown.
While they prove, mix up the cross paste. Mix the flour, sugar and water to form a soft paste. Add more water if the mixture is too stiff. Transfer the paste to a small disposable piping bag.
Once the buns have risen, take them from the oven and reset the temperature to 200deg. C.
Snip off the end of the piping bag and pipe lines across all the buns to form the crosses as shown.
Now find the butter and some friends, and you are ready for an Easter celebrating. These buns are best freshly baked, but can be heated the next day to warm and freshen them up.