Saturday, 23 April 2011


After two weeks working in London where the only meal I cooked was a bowl of pasta, I’m back home in the calm of my own kitchen and have decided it is high time I regain my ‘cooking mojo’.

I browse the Internet for inspiration and flick through some cookbooks and finally decide that with Easter fast approaching, what better time to make my first batch of homemade hot-cross buns.

The prospect of hand baking a bread-like substance often fills people with dread and fears of a time consuming and ultimately failed recipe but you can’t win the prize if you don’t run the race – and what a delicious prize it is!

Always one to attempt a challenging recipe I embark on my Easterly mission in a floury fog and elbow deep in scattered currants. After some mixing and kneading and some rustic cross-piping, the oven opens, the air is enveloped with an appealing spicy citrus aroma, and out come 6 golden buns. Nothing is more deliciously indulgent than fresh hot cross buns, straight from the oven, served with lashings of butter.

Why not make a batch this Easter bank holiday:

310g strong white flour

½ tsp salt

2tsp ground mixed spice

20g melted butter

50g sugar

zest of 1 lemon

zest of 1 orange

1 egg, beaten

140ml warm milk

1tsp fast-action dried yeast

60g currants

For the cross and glaze:

1 tbsp golden syrup

2tbsp plain flour

1tsp sugar

6tbsp water

-Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt, mixed spice, sugar, lemon and orange zest and yeast

- Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, milk and egg and mix together

- When the mixture is coming together to form a dough get your hands in and transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for ten minutes until smooth and elastic

- Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for an hour to prove

- After an hour the dough should have risen and you will have to knock it back (knocking the air out) and leave it in the bowl for a further 30 mins

- Split the dough into 6equal sections and roll into bun shapes and place on a greased baking tray

- For the cross, mix together the flour, sugar and water to form a paste (you may need to add more water to reach a paste-like consistency), put into a piping bag and pipe on crosses over each bun, the more rustic the better!

- Bake in a pre-heated 2400C oven for about 15mins or until a light golden brown

- Heat the golden syrup until it is runny and as soon as the buns are out of the oven brush them with the golden syrup to give a lusciously lacquered glaze

Georgina Davies

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