Easter. Such a beautiful time of year. It’s a new season; a refreshment from the chaotic air of Christmas, New Years, and all that a new year of goals, pressures and work brings with it.
For people of faith, Easter is more than an excuse to demolish chocolate eggs and smother butter over repeated servings of hot cross buns from the moment they hit the shelves. In Australia, hot cross bun purists will be horrified by chocolate chip buns, salted caramel buns, and even Nutella filled hot cross buns. Although I am most often a purist at heart, I must admit these innovative variations sound pretty amazing (minus their additive laden nature. We may have to work on a whole foods version).
Whilst I do savour the doughy, sweetly spiced aroma of a hot cross bun browning under the grill; enjoying it with a generous slathering of salted butter, the wonder of Easter is what layers the food experience with meaning. I think the wonder is what makes the humble hot cross bun such a transcendent joy. For me personally, Easter is a reminder of a fathers outrageous love for me and all the world. It’s a story of a divine rescue plan that gives hope to humanity and a promise of eternity. It’s a celebration of forgiveness that makes way to new life the possibility of overcoming life’s trouble and sadness with the promise of a future and a hope. Easter is HOPE.
Whether you’re a person of faith or not, my hope is that these nourishing, fragrant hot cross buns will fill your home with love and wonder this Easter season. Meredith has carefully crafted this recipe with a heart filled motivation to bring blessing to your friends and family over Easter.
These hot cross buns are full of fruit and spice and really delicious but because of the flour not as soft as the ones from the supermarket, I would recommend eating them straight from the oven at their best and then heating or toasting them for the next couple of days but they will get crumbly.
For easter weekend you could prepare everything the day before and wrap the shaped unbaked buns on a tray in the fridge overnight and bake them in the morning.
Based on this recipe.
300ml milk (full fat organic or coconut milk alternatively)
460g flour (I chose to use half spelt (260g), and then a combination of wholemeal wheat (100g), quinoa (25g), arrowroot (50g) and sorghum (25g) flour to make up the rest but you can use all one kind)
40g almond meal
1 tsp cinnamon (some freshly grated cinnamon if possible as well)
1 tsp allspice or mixed spice
1/4 nutmeg finely grated
2 tsp yeast
90g rapadura or coconut sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 egg whisked
2 cups dried fruit (sultanans, currants and dried sour cherries)
3 small pieces crystallised ginger (optional), finely diced.
For the cross
2 tbs flour, any kind
2-3 tbs milk or water
For the glaze
1 tbs honey
splash of water
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Heat the milk and butter on the stove until just simmering then leave to cool.
Combine all of the flours, yeast, sugar, zest and spices in a large bowl and use a fork to combine.
Add the egg, milk and melted butter and use a wooden spoon to mix until well combined.
Add the dried fruit and ginger and mix until combined, the dough will be fairly sticky and stiff.
Dust a clean surface with flour, tip out dough, dust with more flour, knead for a few minutes until starting to smooth, soften and spring back when pressed.
Place the dough in an oil bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 45-1 hour depending on the temperature, should be doubled in size.
Prepare a small square baking tray or regular trays with baking paper.
Remove the dough from the bowl and knead a few times, tear of even amounts of dough and roll into balls, placing them in the tray so that they fit snuggly next to each other with edges just touching.
Leave to rest for another 30-40 minutes and preheat the oven to 210 C.
Mix the flour and milk together to form a runny paste, pour into a piping bag or zip lock bag and snip off the end to make a small hole. Pipe lines across the rows of buns in one direction and then the other to make crosses.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, turn the temperature down to 190 half way if the buns and browning too quickly, they should just be nice and golden.
While the buns are baking mix the ingredients for the glaze on the stove to warm and soften the honey. When the buns are done, use a brush to glaze them while still hot.