Hot Cross Buns 2011

2011-04-27

Last year we posted our traditional recipe for hot cross buns and the story behind them. It remains a favorite in our family but it was time to explore some other versions. During our search for our Easter 2011 menu brunch we came across a Martha Stewart version that had promise and decided to go with it. A primary difference was the use of all purpose flour instead of bread flour along with certain spices.

The recipe was a basic roll/bread recipe which would require one to get up early to have them ready before brunch. They are always best served fresh as these rolls tend to dry out quickly. However, it is important to allow them to cool so that the icing form the crossing pattern. You will notice in my picture I rushed it.

The buns were light with good texture and flavor. It is a recipe worth trying. This is a large batch so if you have leftovers 15 seconds in the microwave will bring them back to a moister bun. Try them next Easter or anytime.

RECIPE

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons whole milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 ounce (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl and baking sheet

pinch of  salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

4 ounces (3/4 cup) dried cherries, coarsely chopped

2 ounces golden raisins, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup currants

1 large egg white

1 tablespoon water

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Heat 1 cup milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it registers 110 degrees on a candy thermometer. Pour milk into a small bowl.  Add yeast and a pinch of sugar and let the yeast work until bubbly; about 10 minutes.  Pour yeast mixture into a mixer bowl, and fit mixer with a dough hook. With mixer on low speed, add granulated sugar,  butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the nutmeg, cinnamon, and eggs. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, and knead until mixture comes together in a soft, sticky dough. Continue kneading, scraping down hook as needed, until dough is smooth, about 4 minutes.

Add cherries, raisins, currants and knead to incorporate. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead to distribute dried fruit. Coat a large bowl with butter. Shape dough into a ball, and place in prepared bowl. Cover with a piece of plastic, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Generously butter a rimmed baking sheet. Turn dough onto a surface, knead them briefly, then divide into 3 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, divide each third into 10 pieces, and shape each into a tight ball (about 1 ¾ to 2 ounces each). (Keep dough covered with plastic.) Place on prepared sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover with plastic, and let rise in a warm spot until buns have doubled in size and are touching, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together egg white and water in a small bowl. Brush tops of buns with egg-white wash. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on sheet on wire rack for 30 minutes.

Whisk together remaining 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Spoon icing into a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/4-inch round tip, and pipe icing on buns in the shape of a cross. (Alternatively, spoon glaze on buns.) Serve immediately.

Adpated from Martha Stewart Living

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