I know it’s past Easter, but I’m sure I’ll forget which recipe I liked so much if I wait until next year to think about these great rolls we made this year. Plus, I need to share this with a few friends! This bake was inspired by an early morning lament of my good friend that Easter just wasn’t right without Hot Cross Buns. I wholeheartedly agreed, having never had one before, but seeing them many times in some of my favorite Italian bakeries in Rhode Island. Besides, I love the idea of metaphor and meaning in our food, especially around holy times of the year. Well, at least metaphors that my husband and I can enjoy. This is a great recipe from King Arthur Flour, although I did change things just a little. Can’t wait to bring them out of the oven again next year!
Hot Cross Buns
- 1/4 c. apple juice
- 1/2 c. golden raisins
- 1/4 c. dried currants
- 1/4 c. candied orange peel (or another 1/4 c. currants or other dried fruit)
- 1 1/4 c. milk, room temperature
- 3 large eggs, 1 separated
- 6 T. butter, room temperature
- 2 t. instant yeast
- 1/4 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 t. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 t. ground cloves or allspice
- 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
- 1 3/4 t. salt
- 1 T. baking powder
- 4 1/2 c. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 large egg white, reserved from above
- 1 T. milk
icing [Instead, I used Cream Cheese frosting. Perfect!]
- 1 c. + 2 T. confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 4 t. milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing
Lightly grease a 10″ square pan or 9″ x 13″ pan.
Mix the apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to “shrink wrap” itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.
When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.
Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.
Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You’ll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.
Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they’ve puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.
Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.