Hot Cross Buns are a food that instantly evoke the feeling of Easter and Good Friday, and they are also great in helping share the story of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection which is what the Christian festival is all about. Across the world, over the years, the hot cross buns came to have a much deeper symbolism, with the cross symbolizing the cross on which Christ died and the spices in the buns are said to represent the spices which were used to embalm Christ after his death. Here is the recipe for you to make them, and if you are left with many after Good Friday, one can always use them to make a spiced up French Toast the next morning or simply toast and butter it up and enjoy with your hot brew. Read on:
Ingredients for Hot Cross Buns:
1/2 cup raisins, currants, or craisins + 1 cup boiling hot water
3/4 cup very warm milk, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup (I used whole milk, 2% is fine)
1/2 cup white sugar + 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened 15 seconds in microwave
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 Tbsp or 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 large eggs, well beaten
3 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour *measured correctly
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp (a large pinch) ground nutmeg
For the Egg Wash:
1 egg, well beaten with 1 tsp water
For the Glaze:
1/2 cup Powdered sugar mixed with 2 1/2 tsp Milk
In a small bowl, combine the raisins/craisins with 1 cup boiling hot water. Let sit 10 min so that they swell up, then drain well and set aside. Following this, take a large measuring cup and combine quarter cup warm milk with half tea spoon sugar and sprinkle three-forth table spoon of yeast over the top. Stir and let sit at room temp until bubbly and doubled in volume (usually should take 10 minutes).
In a large mixing bowl, combine half cup very warm milk with half cup sugar, four table spoon softened butter and half tsp salt. Stir until butter is melted. Add two well beaten eggs and proofed yeast mixture. Stir in quarter tea spoon ground cinnamon and pinch of ground nutmeg.
Using the dough hook attachment mix in three and a half cups flour, one cup at a time until soft dough forms. Knead 8–12 min on speed 2 or until smooth and elastic. Dough will still stick a little to the bowl but not to your fingers.
Add drained raisins/craisins (pat them dry with paper towels if they still seem too wet) and transfer dough to a large buttered bowl, turning it to bring the buttered side-up. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free room one and a half hours or until doubled in volume (you can also proof in a warm 100˚F oven).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half then continue cutting dough until you have 12 equal sized pieces. Roll dough into balls and transfer to a buttered 9×13″ baking pan. Cover with a tea towel and let them sit in a warm, draft-free room 30 min until puffed.
Now you should preheat your oven to 375˚F. Generously brush the tops with egg wash and bake for 15–17 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan.
Once buns are just warm (not hot), stir together the half cup powdered sugar and about two and a half tea spoon milk. You can add more powdered sugar to thicken it up if needed. Transfer glaze to a zip lock bag, cut off the tip of the bag and pipe a cross shape over each of the buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.
(Recipe courtesy Natasha’s Kitchen)