Sunday, 25 March 2012
Apple Hot Cross Buns - 'No raisins please'
Oscar loves bread, all kinds of bread. It's the one thing he will pretty much always eat. He also loves raisins, munching his way through endless little boxes of them. But it seems that something mysterious happens to these two ingredients when you combine them to make a hot cross bun which makes them absolutely ‘gusting’.
I bought some hot cross buns last week but they were flatly rejected by Oscar without taking a bite. So poor Nick and I had to eat them all, slathered with butter of course (oh the hardships we must endure)!
Anyway, I have taken on the challenge of producing a hot cross bun that will meet with Oscar’s approval so these are my experimental hot cross buns made with apple.
My other experiment of the weekend is this video clip showing the ‘making of’ Apple Hot Cross Buns! If, and it's a big if, this works you can watch a high-speed version of Oscar and I in the kitchen yesterday afternoon.
Makes 12 buns
500g white bread flour
1 sachet (7g) easy bake yeast
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
1 apple, peeled and chopped into small pieces
zest of one orange
250ml milk (warm but not hot)
For the cross –
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp water
For the glaze –
60ml boiling water
1 tbps caster sugar
½ tsp mixed spice
1. Put the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, ginger, nutmeg and mixed spice in a bowl. Add the butter and incorporate it into the flour by rubbing it between your fingers until all lumps of butter have gone.
2. Mix in the apple and orange zest. Beat the egg and add it to the mixture along with the warm milk. Mix together with a wooden spoon and then use your hands to mix in the rest of the flour and bring it together to make a dough.
3. Knead it on a floured surface for ten, long, arm-aching minutes. Keep adding more flour to the surface if the dough gets sticky. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
4. Thump the dough with your fist a few times to knock out the air and then tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead again for a few more minutes. Use a knife to divide the dough into about 12 equal portions and roll them into balls.
5. Line a high-sided baking tray with baking paper. I used the roasting tray from our oven. Put your balls of dough into the tin keeping a space the width of a finger between each one. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes.
6. Meanwhile heat the oven to 200°c. Make the paste for the cross by mixing the flour and water. Put it in a small plastic freezer bag and snip a tiny corner off to make a piping bag. When the buns are ready, take the cling film off and pipe a cross onto each one.
7. Put the buns in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are nice and brown, then put them on a wire rack to cool. Make the glaze by mixing the sugar and mixed spice with boiling water then brush it over the buns.
These do take a long time to make but I definitely felt a real sense of achievement when they came out of the oven and our house still smells delicious. Although they are not as sweet as the normal raisin-filled buns, they are a really good alternative for kids who don’t like ‘bits’ in their food and for grown-ups with less of a sweet-tooth. The lumps of apple disappear when they are cooked, leaving behind a yummy, apple flavoured, bit-free bun.
I was so pleased, especially after all the kneading, that these met with Oscar approval. There was a brief moment of despair, as I presented him with his bun and he burst into tears, when I thought I should hang up my pinny for good. Fortunately it turned out that the tears were more to do with the fact that he wanted to go back to the playground! Once he'd got over that he gobbled it up. Oscar’s lunch score 4/5.
Oscar's own efforts below.