This time of year simply would not be complete without Hot Cross Buns. In years gone by I have had steady supplies from both my mother and sister (who both make gorgeous ones) but in recent years I have been doing them myself. I find it a little odd that they are so wonderful and yet I only make them at Easter -perhaps it is a little like fruitcake at Christmas, lovely but you know you would be the size of a house if you made it (and ate it!) too regularly.
So this is really just one of those ocassional indulgences, the likes of which seem to join together to create special food all year!!!! The minute Easter is over with there will be some new celebration to make something for!
I always feel very cagey when posting about breadmaking as I use a breadmaker. It is my sneaky shortcut that renders me an unauthentic cook I know, but since starting to use one some 7 or so years ago (I actually do remember the exact date but didn't want to sound that sad by announcing it! The date has stuck with me though as the impact was significant, it has transformed my bread making/baking!!!!).
This recipe was taken from a bread baking book but is much like the recipe my mother uses, which is I think from Jo Seagar. I have found that most conventional bread recipes work in the breadmaker, in fact I am yet to have one go pear shaped. I rarely cook a loaf in it, I mainly only use the dough cycle then shape and bake.
These buns are rich and tasty, they are only lightly spiced, but that's how I like them. I didn't put the crosses on before baking them either, instead I piped them on with a basic icing after they had cooled. This recipe made 16 medium sized buns.
Hot Cross Buns (for the breadmaker)
4 c high grade flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp yeast
1 c milk
125g soft butter
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
3/4 c raisins
Put all ingredients except raisins in breadmaker pan in order suggested by your bread machine instructions.
Set for white bread dough and press start. Add the raisins after the first kneading or when the machine signals it's time to add fruit. When dough is ready, remove and punch down. Cut into 16 pieces and shape into rolls.
Place on a baking paper lined tray then cover loosely and set in a warm place to rise until doubled, 45 mins to an hour.
Bake in oven at 190C for 12 - 15 minutes.
Brush with sugar syrup glaze (I make sugar syrup by dissolving 2/3c sugar with 1/3c water over heat) as soon as they come out of the oven and when cooled pipe crosses on with basic icing (icing sugar, knob of butter and hot water).
Enjoy with more butter! Happy Easter!