Hot Cross Buns!
I made hot cross buns for the first time today. I had noticed a recipe for them in the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook when we first got it, and I decided to make them at Easter-time. Conveniently enough, Feast, which I borrowed from the library last week, also has a recipe for them, so I combined the two.
They tasted exactly how I'd hoped--rich, tender, sweet, and a little tangy, full of dried fruit bits. They didn't look as perfect as I'd imagined, but that's not a big deal. They made the apartment smell really good while they were baking, and they were quite nice indeed when eaten hot out of the oven (and at room temperature). I'm so glad they turned out well!
Hot Cross Buns
(Adapated from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and Nigella Lawson's Feast)
- 3/4 c buttermilk
- 6 T unsalted butter
- zest from 1 orange
- 1 clove
- 2 cardamom pods, crushed
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 c (20 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c white sugar
- 1 envelope (2.25 t) rapid-rise yeast
- 1.25 t salt
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1/2 t ground nutmeg
- 1/4 t ground ginger
- 1/2 c currants
- 1/4 c golden raisins
- 1/4 c candied citron (I might leave this out next time; the storebought stuff tastes a little funny, and I'm not sure what to do with the rest of it)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 T water
- 3 T all-purpose flour
- 2 T water
- 1/2 T superfine sugar
- 1 T superfine sugar
- 1 T boiling water
- Heat buttermilk, butter, orange zest, clove, and cardamom pods until butter melts, then turn off heat and let infuse, ~5 minutes or until body temperature. Remove zest, clove, and cardamom.
- Whisk the eggs into the buttermilk mixture.
- Mix flour, sugar, yeast, salt, spices, currants, raisins, and citron in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.
- Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If, after 5 minutes, more flour is needed, add another 1/4 c flour, 1 T at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 1 minute. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in fridge overnight, then let come to room temperature in the morning (or just let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 2-2.5 hours).
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball. Arrange the balls in a greased 9x13-inch metal baking dish and cover tightly with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until the rolls have nearly doubled in size and are pressed against one another, 1-1.5 hours.
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350F. Using a sharp knife, cut an X through the top 1/4 inch of each bun. (Nigella has you do this before the second rise, which might be better, as cutting the X's after the second rise caused the buns to deflate somewhat. But they recovered in the oven and puffed up anyway)
- Whisk the egg and water together and brush over the buns. For the crosses, mix together the flour, water, and sugar, and dribble over the cut X's. Bake until golden and puffed, 25-30 minutes.
- Mix the sugar and boiling water to make the glaze. (I used leftover citrus-infused simple syrup from candying the blood orange peels for my chiffon pies; it might be nice to add lemon zest or extract to the glaze to get a similar effect) Remove the buns from the oven and brush with two coats of the glaze. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then either serve hot or let cool on a wire rack.