One a Penny, Two a Penny, Hot Cross Buns!
Hot cross buns are traditionally baked for lent, the 40 days before Easter. On Good Friday they have been served to commemorate Christ’s suffering on the cross. However, the bun acquired mythical properties during the centuries. Early literature reveals that the hot cross bun was better known as the Good Friday Bun.
The most famous story says the hot cross buns origins date to the 12th century when an Anglican monk was sent to have placed the sign of the cross on the buns to honor Good Friday. Throughout history, the bun has received credit for special virtues, among them that of ensuring friendship between two people sharing a bun. An old rhyme states, “half for you and half for me, between us two good luck shall be”.
Hot Cross Buns
450g bread (strong) flour
pinch of salt
2 tspn mixed spice
7g fast action dried yeast (generally 1 sachet)
50g caster sugar
275ml warm milk (40seconds in microwave will do)
200g dried raisins or currants (I don’t like the traditional dried mixed fruit – but if you do, use that instead)
grated rind of an orange
- Put the flour, salt and mixed spice in a bowl and give them a quick whisk to mix. This is much better that shifting for breaking lumps and blending ingredients together. Add the yeast, sugar, beaten egg and milk and stir together into a soft dough.
- Knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you are using a mixer to make these buns give it five minutes on low with the dough hook. Add in the dried fruit and the grated orange rind and knead for another minute.
- Roll out the mix slightly and cut the dough into 10 pieces. Roll these into balls on the table using the flat of your hand and place on a baking sheet or tray. Leave their own width again between each bun so they will have room to rise.
- To make the cross mix 100g flour with about 3 tbls cold water to make a basic dough. Roll it out thin and cut into little strips. Dampen with a little water and stick to the top of each bun.
- Take a length of cling film and brush with a little cooking oil. Place this on top of the buns and leave in the kitchen to double in size – about 20 minutes depending on the weather and the warm of the room!
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C, 180°C if a fan oven, for 20-25 minutes.
The hot cross buns are taditionally brushed with a sugar & water glaze when still hot but I prefer to brush them with local honey, from the Saturday country market in Leghowney!
Dont forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this post!