Sunday, 8 April 2012

Orange glazed hot cross buns.

Happy Easter everyone! I know (if you are anything like me) that you are probably suffering from a sugar induced coma, but if you fancy shaking off those easter egg shakes and making something really special, then read on for my recipe for the perfect hot cross bun. Doughy in the centre, crusty on the outside, sweet from the juicy bursts of the currants, and tart from the tangy citrus orange glaze, who could ask for more?

Yes, they are labour intensive, and yes, they do take a while to make, but hey, Easter is about lazing around the house during the afternoon, so why not set aside several hours and make these with the love and attention they deserve - a lot of the time is spent waiting for things to rise, and so can be spent employed with other activities, like eating chocolate and watching tv. Sounds like the perfect Sunday afternoon to me...

Orange glazed hot cross buns
For the buns:
600g strong white flour
1tsp salt
3tbsp mixed spice
45g butter
85g sugar
zest 1 lemon
zest 1 orange
2tbsp fast-action yeast
1 egg
275ml warm milk
150g sultanas

For the topping:
3tbsp plain flour
3tbsp water

For the glaze:
100g caster sugar
50ml water
juice 2 oranges

1. Sieve the flour, salt and mixed spice into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your hands. 
2. Make a well in the flour and add the zest of the lemon and one orange. 
3. Heat the milk and add a beaten egg to it. Pour slowly into the well and mix until all incorporated and a dough is formed. 
4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes.
5. Continue kneading, adding in the currants and kneading them into the mixture. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.
6. Place into the mixing bowl (you may want to grease the sides with butter), cover with a clean cloth, and place in a warm place to prove for one hour.
7. Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough for a further 5-10 minutes. Place back in the bowl and leave to prove for another half an hour.
8. Cut the dough into twelve pieces and shape into buns. Place on a greased baking tray, cover with greaseproof paper all over, and then wrap with clingfilm. 
9. Leave to prove for 40 minutes.
10. Whilst the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 240°c and mix the flour and water into a paste. 
11. When the buns have risen, score crosses into them and place the flour mixture into the grooves to make crosses. 
12. Cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. 
13. Whilst the buns are cooking, place the sugar and water in a pan on the hob, and heat whilst mixing continuously until the sugar has dissolved. Add the juice of two oranges and continue to mix over the heat for a few minutes. 
14. When the buns are out of the oven and still hot, spoon the sticky orange glaze over them, ensuring that each bun is covered and glossy. 

I know this is a long process, but trust me - the finished product is so, so, so worth it! The buns smell incredible (perfect for if you're expecting visitors, or even if you want to pull a chair up to the oven and enjoy the smell yourself), and, once glazed, they look so shiny and perfect you will almost not want to eat them. Oh, and they taste pretty good too!


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