HOT CROSS BUNS

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Thanks to the quarantine of 2020, I made my first Hot Cross Buns, and I must say that they are delicious! These sweet and spicy sandwiches were born in England in 1361, in Hertfordshire, from the hands of friar Thomas Rocliffe who invented small sandwiches with a cross on top to be distributed to the poor on Good Friday. It is said that the sandwiches prepared on Good Friday do not go bad, and that if a sick person eats a piece of it it will help them recover. If brought on board a ship they protect it from shipwrecks, and if they are hung in the kitchen they protect the house from fires… During Elizabeth’s reign, due to the reform, they were banned but that didn’t mean people stopped making them at home in great secrecy…

The buns are made with a soft, rich dough (brioche bread) and seasoned with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, raisins and orange zest. To make them it will take about 2.5-3 hours to allow the two leavenings.

Ingredients for approximately 10-12 pieces:

For the brioche bread

  • 63 ml of water
  • 63 ml of milk
  • 30 g of butter
  • 65 g of sugar
  • 350-400 g of strength flour (Manitoba)
  • 1 egg
  • 7 g of salt
  • a teaspoon of cinnamon (or a little vanilla from the pod)
  • a pinch of nutmeg (if you want you can also add a pinch of clove powder)
  • the finely grated zest of half an orange
  • 100 g of raisins

If you use fresh yeast:

  • half a glass of warm milk
  • 9 mg of fresh yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

Alternatively, if you use dry yeast:

  • half a sachet of dehydrated yeast to mix with the flour

For decoration

  • 50 g of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • waterfall
  • 1 egg beaten with a little milk

Place the raisins in cold water for at least half an hour, then drain and dry them well.

For the brioche bread, follow the recipe by clicking on the link, with the doses indicated above, adding the extra ingredients to the dough, namely the spices, raisins and orange zest. Arrive until the first leavening is complete.

At this point, take the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and make approximately 10-12 balls of 5 cm in diameter, work them well as you would with meatballs so that they are nice and round and regular. Arrange them on a baking tray lined with baking paper, slightly spaced apart from each other in a regular pattern.

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Leave them to rise in the oven a second time, with the oven warm but turned off (or at most turned on at 25°C), with the oven light on, for about 30-60 minutes until the balls have risen well and are “touching” slightly. ).

In the meantime, prepare a soft batter with the flour, icing sugar and a few tablespoons of water, and place it in a piping bag with a 0.5 cm nozzle.

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Take your dough balls out of the oven and set the oven to 180°c in static mode. Cut the buns lightly (just barely!) in a cross with the tip of a sharp knife, and with the piping bag fill the grooves with the batter, drawing regular crosses. Gently brush the sandwiches with the egg beaten in the milk (you can also brush just the spaces between the crosses.

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Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and while they are still hot, brush them lightly with melted butter (I use a paper towel) so they will remain softer, cover with a cloth and leave to cool.

And here they are, your Hot Cross Buns, beautiful, soft and fragrant. In England they are so famous for the Easter celebrations that there is even a nursery rhyme in their honor!

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“Hot cross buns, hot cross buns,

One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns,

If you have no daughters,

Give them to your sons

One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns,

But if you have none of these little elves Then you may eat them all yourselves!!!…”

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