Hot Cross Buns
A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins, marked with a cross on the top, and traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and India. The buns mark the end of Lent and the different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial.
There are many stories that indicate hot cross buns were baked on Good Friday for superstitious reasons. One tale states that buns baked on this day and hung from the rafters of a home would ward off evil spirits in the coming year. Another version mentions that sharing the bun with a loved one guarantees friendship in the coming year.
Place 50 g butter and the zest of 1 orange in 175 ml of milk. Gently heat and melt the butter.
Place 400 g bread flour, 50 g caster sugar, 450 g dried mixed fruit, ½ tbsn of ground mixed spice, a pinch of salt and one 7 g sachet of easy blend yeast in a bowl.
Pour the warm milk mixture into the bowl and add 1 beaten egg. Mix well and knead the mixture until it is smooth and elastic. (5 mins by machine with dough hook or 15 mins by hand.)
When the dough is soft, silky and elastic, place in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
When fully risen, take the dough out and ’knock it back’. This simply means kneading the dough again by hand for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and roll them into balls. Mark a cross in each ball and place on a greased tray. Cover with a damp cloth and leave for 40 minutes.
Brush the risen buns gently with a beaten egg. Mix together 3 tbsn of flour, 1 tbsn of sugar and 2 tbsn of water to make a thick paste. Carefully dribble 2 lines over the buns to form a cross.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 15-20 mins. When the buns come out of the oven, mix together 1 tbsn of sugar and boiling water and brush the glaze over the buns.