Sorry that the posts have been a little sparse over the last few weeks – I haven’t been in my kitchen very much as I’ve been on holiday in Japan! The food was astonishingly good and I squeezed as many foodie treats into my suitcase as I possibly could so I think a few of my next posts may be inspired by the Land of the Rising Sun…
But first things first: Happy Easter from pip and little blue! I don’t think any traditional Good Friday is complete without hot cross buns and, although store bought buns are surprisingly tasty (and seemingly always on special offer!) there is nothing like buns fresh from the oven. My flat smells all sweet and cinnamon-y and my tummy is very happy indeed. And there’s nothing like baking to ward off the bitter cold (do you think the weather just forgot to do Spring this year and we’ll just sail straight into a balmy Summer? Here’s hoping…). This recipe goes out to anyone who is snowed in.
These buns are soft and pillowy and laden with juicy chai-spiced raisins – a perfect seasonal teatime treat!
Chai-spiced hot cross buns
Makes 12 buns
For the buns:
– 200ml semi-skimmed milk
– 450g plain white flour
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 3 teaspoons mixed spice
– pinch salt
– 50g caster sugar
– 1 sachet quick-action dried yeast
– 1 large egg (free-range please)
– 50g butter, melted
– 1 chai tea bag (or 1 teaspoon loose leaf)
– 100g raisins
For the crosses:
– 30g plain flour
– 15g butter
– dash of water
For the glaze:
– 2 tablespoons milk
– 25g caster sugar
Gently warm the milk in a pan on a low heat until tepid.
Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the cinnamon, mixed spice, salt, yeast and sugar.
Add the egg and melted butter to the mixture and stir to combine, gradually adding the warm milk (I used the dough hook attachment on my food mixer but you could use a good old spoon). When the dough has come together, knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough (again, I used the dough hook but you could knead on a floured work surface). Place in a floured bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about an hour.
Pop the raisins in a bowl with the chai tea bag and pour over just enough boiling water to submerge the raisins. Leave to soak until the dough is ready, and then squeeze out with your hands and pat dry with a piece of kitchen towel.
Knock back the dough, add the raisins and knead again until the fruit is scattered throughout the dough. Form 12 balls from the dough and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Re-cover loosely with clingfilm and put in a warm place for another 30-40 minutes, until the buns have more or less doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
For the crosses, rub the butter into the flour with your fingers. Add some water, a little at a time, and stir until you have a gloopy mixture (about the consistency of pureed potato if that helps!). Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe a cross onto each bun. Tip: Use quite a narrow nozzle as the line will spread as it melts during baking. The piping can get a little messy – I found the best way was to pipe a continuous horizontal line across each strip of buns and then do the same vertically. It saved me getting blobs of mixture on the sides of the buns and you can just bin (or eat…) the mini strips connecting the buns once they’re baked – easy!
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and tanned.
Whilst the buns are baking, melt the remaining milk and sugar in a pan on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Brush the glaze over the hot buns and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Eat immediately (hooray!) or store in an airtight container for up to a week (boo).
Source: Recipe and photos by pip & little blue; recipe adapted from The Baking Pocket Bible.