Easter just wouldn’t be Easter without Hot Cross buns, and they are the perfect thing to bake on Easter Saturday: leave them to prove during the day, bake them in the evening, and they’ll be ready for Easter Sunday breakfast! When I was little I used to call them ‘hot scone buns’, but now I think they’re much better than scones – especially flavoured with orange and cinnamon and studded with raisins and citrus peel like these ones.
These are best eaten freshly baked from the oven, but are just as good up to 3 days after, lightly toasted and spread with butter.
For the buns:
- 300ml milk
- 50g butter
- 500g strong bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 200g mix of raisins, sultanas and mixed peel
- zest 1 orange
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the cross
- 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the glaze
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (see Tip, below) into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
- Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
- With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.
- Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece – see Tip below). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.
- Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses (see Tip below). Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
- Bubble the honey and sugar in a saucepan until syrupy, then brush over the buns to glaze.
Recipe adapted from Paul Hollywood
Pesto Stromboli rolls
I came back from university last weekend to find that both my sister and my dad have given up cakes and biscuits for Lent, which means no baking sweet things for a while, although I’m sure I still will! This meant that I had to give bread another try, but luckily these Stromboli are very easy to make, and don’t need to long to prove either.
Stromboli is a type of bread which has a filling inside, and is then rolled up, basically a savoury cinnamon roll. They are perfect for lunchboxes, and keep really well, and can either be frozen, or reheated in the oven once they are a couple of days old.
Pesto Stromboli rolls (recipe adapted from John Whaite)
For the Pesto:
Bunch of basil, roughly torn into pieces
20g pine nuts or cashew nuts
15g parmesan, finely grated
Glug of olive oil
Salt and pepper
For the dough:
500g white bread flour
10g fast action yeast
30ml olive oil
For Filling 1:
1 batch homemade pesto
50g grated cheddar cheese
For Filling 2:
50g sundried tomato pesto
50g grated cheddar cheese
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
- For the dough, put the flour, salt, yeast, oil and water into a large bowl and work together into a dough. Tip onto a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and shiny.
- Lightly oil the dough and put back in the bowl, then cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size, roughly 1 ½ hours, depending on how warm it is.
- While the dough is rising, make the pesto by blending all the ingredients together until you get a rough paste. Then knock the dough back and roll into a square roughly 30cm by 30cm.
- Spread the homemade pesto over half the dough, and sprinkle with the cheese, then spread the tomato pesto over the other half and add the spring onions and cheese.
- Roll the dough up tightly lengthways, then cut into 12 pieces. Place each piece into a hole in a muffin tin, then leave to rise for 30 minutes while the oven is pre-heating to 180°C.
- Once risen again, cook until the Stromboli are golden and risen. Put on a wire rack to cool and drizzle with some olive oil.
Baking with yeast has always scared me slightly, as there seem to be so many possible ways it could go wrong! The apricot couronne (https://elliespinkcakes.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/apricot-couronne/) I made back in September was my first real foray into the world of yeast, so I decided it was high time I conquered my fear!
I had a couple of problem making these, the first being that my mixing bowl has acquired a hole, and has now made its way to the bin. 😦 I wasn’t going to let this stop me however, so I decided the only course of action was to make the dough on the kitchen table! My second problem was that I don’t actually have a rolling pin here at uni… cue new use for a lemondade bottle!
These cinnamon buns are surprisingly easy to make, as they only require one rise. The dough is very quick to make, and only needs 5 minutes of kneading, so they are perfect if you don’t have much time. I made the dough and rolled the buns, then left them to prove whilst I went to a lecture, then came back and baked them – heaven! These buns are incredibly moreish, and they also make your kitchen smell amazing!
(recipe from http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/05/08/easy-cinnamon-rolls-from-scratch/)
For the dough:
345g strong white bread flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 packet dried yeast
1 large egg
For the Filling:
45g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
50g granulated sugar
For the Glaze:
120g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons milk
- For the dough, set aside 50g of flour. In a large bowl, (or on the table…!) mix the remaining flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast together until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
- Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture.
- Add the egg and enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough. The dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl and let rest for about 10 minutes.
- Make the filling: After 10 minutes, roll the dough out in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top.
- Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Add more cinnamon/sugar if desired. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 11 even pieces and place in a lightly greased dish.
- Leave to rise for about 2 hours at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.
- After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 190°C. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. You might need to cover them with silver foil.
- Right before serving, top your cinnamon rolls with glaze. Mix the icing sugar and milk together until smooth and drizzle over the rolls.