After my nice long visit home to Ireland I didn’t really get an opportunity to do some proper Easter baking. Easter is quite like Christmas in that way, where there are so many traditional recipes that only feel right making or eating at that specific period.
One of those specific treats are hot cross buns. I’ve never made them before but when I saw them being made on TV by the great Paul Hollywood over the Easter weekend I wanted to give them a try. So, here is the silver fox’s own recipe for these little hot cross buns, with a few very adjustments here and there.
500g strong white flour
1 tsp salt
75g caster sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
1 egg , beaten
zest 1 orange
1 apple , peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
75g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
3 tbsp apricot jam
Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool slughtly. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl and 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 for about 5 mins or 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.
With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, 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 12 even pieces. 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 paper, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover lightly with more cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr.
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp of 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. Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.
Happy belated Easter