I believe in eating foods in season and despite the fact I am not Catholic that includes eating hot cross buns at Easter rather than in January just because supermarkets are selling them.
Traditionally hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday, the anniversary of Jesus crucifixion, the cross on the bun being representative of this. I think its true to say in these times the majority of people who enjoy eating the sweet, spiced buns care little for the meaning behind them and more for the taste.
I began our family tradition of making hot cross buns about four years ago when River started at the local Steiner playgroup and the recipe was in the Autumn newsletter. Since then I have made them each year with River and now Sol joins in. The taste (and smell) of home baked hot cross buns is incomparable to almost any buns you can buy. And it is fun to do with children and easier than you may think even if you have never baked with yeast before.
Here is the recipe:
FOR THE BUNS
1.5 cups of milk of your choice
7g sachet dried yeast
1/3 cup raw sugar
3.5 cups white spelt flour
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice (you can spice them as you wish)
pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g butter melted
3/4 cup sultanas
1/2 cup currants
(you can add peel if you like it)
FOR THE CROSS
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons self-raising flour
1/3 cup water
1 dessertspoon raw sugar (optional)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 tsp powdered gelatine
*Heat milk in a saucepan to lukewarm then remove from heat and add yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Leave to stand for 20 minutes or until frothy.
*Sift flour, spices and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add remaining sugar and dried fruit. Stir to combine. To the milk mixture, add egg and butter.
*Gradually stir milk mixture into flour until dough forms.
*Turn out on to a floured bench.
*Knead for 5-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
*Punch down to deflate. Turn out on to floured surface and knead for a few minutes or until smooth and elastic.
*Divide dough into 2 pieces, then 4, then 8 and so on until you have 12 'balls'. Shape each piece into a bun shape and place 1cm apart into a greased 19cm x 30cm tray. Cover with a clean teatowel and leave to rise again in a warm place for 20 minutes.
*For the cross, mix flour and water together and place mixture in piping bag or plastic bag with corner snipped out of it. Pipe crosses onto dough.
*Cook in a hot oven (200C) for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 180C and cook for a further 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Leave in tray for 5 minutes then cool on wire rack.
*Make the glaze by placing water, sugar and gelatine in saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar and gelatine dissolve. Remove from heat and brush tops of warm buns with glaze.
*Ready to eat with butter.
I wish I was posting a photo of my freshly baked hot cross buns this morning but I have come away to visit my nan and have left the battery charger for my camera at home!! Oh well better a flat camera battery, than flat Easter buns. And as for taking photos with my phone, yep I can do that but I am yet to work out how to upload them to my laptop. There I've revealed it, me and technology are on a very slow burn.
Do give it a go making your own Easter buns, the smell of cinnamon and spice filling your kitchen is worth it alone. Happy days to all of you.