Easter is coming up – its imminent arrival is cued by the appearance of hot crossed buns in the bakery section of every grocery store. The yellow-frosted buns with little citrusy bits remind me of my childhood – toasted, with butter – but I far prefer homemade.
If hot crossed buns are a part of your Easter tradition, Executive Chef David Vandenabeele of Langham Place, Fifth Avenue in New York has come up with a great recipe to share. They’re made with dark raisins (my favourite) and spiked with nutmeg and cinnamon, but feel free to experiment with dried fruit – I like candied citron, raisins and dried cherries or cranberries for colour in my Easter buns, but the combination is up to you. I love that this method considers the fact that you’ll want your buns warm from the oven on Easter morning; refrigerating the dough slows the rise overnight – all you have to do is shape & bake for fresh buns during your Easter egg hunt.
Hot Cross Buns
1 cup milk
2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup melted butter, cooled
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
5 cups flour
1 1/3 cup dark raisins
1 egg white
For the glaze :
1 1/3 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp milk
In a large bowl, combine the milk and yeast and let rest for 5 minutes.
Add the sugar, salt, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and the eggs. Add the flour- the dough should be wet and sticky.
Knead the dough to a soft consistency (around 5 minutes). Cover the bowl with cling film and let it rest 30 to 45 minutes.
Knead the dough again until it feels soft and elastic (3 minutes); add the raisins and knead through the dough.
Shape the dough into a ball, butter a bowl and place the dough into the bowl, cover with plastic foil and let it rest in the fridge overnight.
The next day remove the bowl from the fridge and let it get to room temperature for around 30 minutes.
Butter a baking tray and divide the dough into 24 equal balls. Place them on the baking tray with 1/2 inch of space between them.
Cover with a tea towel and let them stand for about 1 1/2 housr until they double in size.
Preheat the oven to 390F. Take a small sharp knife and cut a cross in the dough, brush the buns with egg white and place in the ove.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F. Bake the buns for around 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
Prepare the glaze by mixing all the ingredients; spoon into a piping bag and pipe a cross on the buns. Serve them warm.