Why do Hot Cross Buns insist on being seasonal?
I would happily stuff them in my face ALL year round.
The window for them has admittedly opened up a lot in recent years, it’s easy to get hold of them at Christmas as well as Easter but that doesn’t stop my Mother from judging me for eating one in February. I have felt guilt ever since then and not let another Hot Cross Bun pass my lips… until now, when it is finally acceptable to eat them.
This was my first attempt at baking them and I’m quite proud of the result – I used the Edd Kimber recipe that was in the March 2012 edition of Waitrose Kitchen. I adapted it by using less raisins and substituting them with dark chocolate chips and toasted hazelnuts for a more decadent bun.
Chocolate Fruit & Nut Hot Cross Buns
450g /1lb strong white bread flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
50g / 2oz caster sugar
7g / ¼oz quick yeast
30g / 1oz unsalted butter
zests of 1 orange & 1 lemon
30g / 1oz hazelnuts – roughly chopped & lighted toasted
40g /1½oz raisins
65g / 2¼oz dark chocolate chips
1 large egg
olive oil for greasing
50g / 2oz plain flour
2 tbsp golden syrup
In a large bowl mix together the bread flour, salt, spices, sugar, yeast and chocolate chips.
Toast the chopped hazelnuts in a dry frying pan.
In a small saucepan gently heat the milk and butter until the butter has melted. Add the raisins and toasted hazelnuts to the milk and set aside to cool for about 5 minutes. Once slightly cooled beat in the egg.
This is when it will get a bit messy – personally I like turning the dough a little bit chocolatey but if you wish to avoid this add the chocolate during the kneading once it’s cooled down a bit more.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture – stirring to form a dough.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth – about 5 minutes. Mine got stuck to the work surface a lot, so I needed to add quite a bit of flour. Once it’s formed into a ball place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to raise – at least an hour or until it is doubled in size.
Once risen tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knock the air back – divide into 10 equal pieces (roughly 100g) and roll them into balls. Place 2cm apart on a lined baking tray and cover with a piece of oiled clingfilm. Leave them to rise for a further 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas mark 6 and remove the clingfilm. Mix together the plain flour with 5 tbsp of water and spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe crosses onto the buns (or like me kisses – it was an accident) and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Gentle heat the golden syrup and brush over your baked buns.
Allow them to cool a little before toasting them, covering them in salty butter and shoving them in your pie hole!