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Thursday, April 1, 2010

YISCHEF: Easter Edition - Hot Cross Buns

For the buns (this makes 12):

2 sachets of dried yeast

1 tsp raw sugar

1 cup warm water

4 cups plain flour

a pinch of salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp dutch cinnamon

1/2 cup currants

1/2 cup sultanas

1/2 cup muscatels

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup rice bran oil

For the cross:

1/2 a cup of plain flour

enough water to form a paste-like consistency (about 4 tbspns or so)

For the glaze:

half a cup of good quality (preferably homemade) apricot jam, melted

Do this:

Mix the yeast with the cup of warm water and raw sugar and let prove for a few minutes. Meanwhile, put the fruit, oil, 1/2 a cup of water, brown sugar and spices into a saucepan and heat. While that's happening, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the yeast and warmed fruit mixture to the flour, and mix gently with a palette knife (a butter knife will suffice if you don't have one) until barely combined, then finish working the mixture with your hands till it comes together to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead till the dough is smooth (usually takes about ten minutes). Chuck into lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap. Set aside in a warm place till the dough doubles in size. That should take one to two (at the most) hours. Once this is done, punch dough down to its original size, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide into 12 even portions and roll each portion into a ball. Put the buns onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper, about a centimetre apart. Cover tray with a tea towel and put aside in a warm place for about half an hour, or until buns double in size. While that's going on, preheat your oven to 190 degrees (180 if it's fan-forced).

For the crosses, mix the flour and water together until smooth, adding more water if the paste is too thick. Put paste into a piping bag with a small nozzle (or if you don't have one, you can use one of those snap-lock bags with a corner snipped off). Pipe flour paste over the tops of the buns. Chuck your buns in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are cooked through.

Melt the apricot jam and brush over the buns while they're still warm. These are best eaten warm, preferably on the day they're made. Accompanied by a pot of strong Twinings Earl Grey tea. Enjoy!

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