I loved to peel the cross off the top and pick out the cherries and set them to one side. I'd then devour the bread and sultanas, licking the sticky glaze from my fingers. Then it was time to move onto the cherries, which I'd eat one-by-one before polishing off the chewy cross as the grand finale.
I'd be lucky to get more than 2 homemade hot cross buns over Easter and, believe me, I waited all year for them. My siblings and I would each count out how many cherries we'd managed to score in our buns to see who got the most. It was always a good day when your bun was the cherry winner. Let's not talk about the times when there was no cherry in the bun. Sad faces all around.
I suppose that's where these buns came from really. The need to make sure every bun is a cherry winner! So many cherries, that everyone's happy. Who doesn't love a smiling face at Easter time?
Hot Cross Buns (with extra cherry goodness)!
4.5 cups strong bread flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons mixed spice
50 grams melted butter
1.5 cups milk
1.5 tablespoons yeast
1 cup sultanas
0.5 cup currants
200 grams glace cherries (cut in half)
How I do it:
Warm the milk slightly, add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar and wait till it starts to froth a bit.
While you wait, sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the sugar and dried fruit. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix till it starts to come together. Turn the mixture out on the bench and knead for about 15 minutes, until the dough gets a stringy appearance when pulled. Roll dough into a tight ball and place in a bowl in a warm spot. Cover it with a tea towel. Wait until the dough has puffed up to roughly twice the size it was.
Then turn dough out onto your bench. Cut the dough into 24 equally sized pieces. Roll into tight balls and place in your tray.
Cover them up and place back in your warm spot until they rise.
When they've puffed up, you need to make your cross mixture. I usually take about 3 tablespoons plain flour and mix in enough water until it reaches toothpaste consistency. Place mixture into a plastic bag. Snip off a tiny corner from the bag and use it to squeeze cross lines across your buns. If you work quickly, your lines are neater.
Bake in a 180-200 degree oven (depending on how hot your oven is) until the buns are brown on top and sound hollow when tapped- about 30 mins.
While they are hot I brush them with a sticky glaze, but this is optional, they are delicious just like this.
The sticky glaze is made by dissolving 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup of water and 1 heaped teaspoon gelatine in a saucepan over low heat.
How's your holiday shaping up? Big plans? Or lazy days filled with chocolate and buns?
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