Friday, April 10, 2009

Two - A - Penny...

Well, you had to know I'd do an "authentic" version of hot cross buns after all the waxing poetic I did in my last post! Don't worry, everyone - I have no intention of writing anything nearly that long tonight. The wonderful virus known as Mr. Influenza has decided to take up more or less permanent residence in my body, so I've been spending less and less time in class, and more and more time in bed (though depressingly, not asleep :-( ).

Lucky enough for my dad, I had made the dough for these yeast-raised (as opposed to the other recipe's "quick biscuit" method) buns last week, and let it rise once before shaping and freezing the individual balls (without the paste crosses, obviously). Initially I had done that to facilitate the whole "kitchen share" dance my family has to do every holiday (between the preparation and last-minute cooking of the grand feast, my own, separately cooked and eaten meal and all the extra people in the house it gets hectic!) while still having fresh-baked HCB for my dad. Turns out that advance planning in this case was beneficial in more ways than one! Not only did it make these already simple buns so easy it bordered on inane (especially since I didn't screw them up even while reeling from a heavy dose of Gravol) but the looooong thaw-out / second rise time (twelve hours total, though it varies with each individual kitchen) just developed the dough's flavour and crumb even more.

When they were in the oven, my sister (who is coincidentally turning 18 this Sunday! Eek!) wandered into the kitchen and immediately got hit with a craving for cinnamon-raisin bagels. The spices and fruits coupled with the yeasty aroma really did add to the bagel-shop atmosphere, though the finished product (thankfully, in this case) didn't resemble those doughy rings in the least! In fact, these buns are probably the most indulgent bread I've made (though there are a couple others to give it a run for it's money!) with a hearty shot of buttermilk, a whack of creamy, melted butter and a delicious dose of brown sugar forming a delicious capsule for the sweet fruits and candied peel. Yes, I know... I personally hate candied peel of any kind (and I used orange here), but it is common in traditional HCB (I used an old copy my mom had in her files) and my dad likes it, so in it went. I couldn't bring myself to do the currants though... it's just not right... so instead I kneaded in dark Thompson raisins and dried cranberries that I had soaked overnight in water (yes, this was before my Amaretto epiphany - I definitely plan to try it net time though (or maybe Southern Comfort! Even Frangelico or a fruit liqueur would be awesome, I bet).

The cross is nothing more than flour and water mied into a thick gluey paste, next time I'dd add a touch more water since as you can see the decoration is a little less than dainty. I also opted out of glazing these, mostly because I was not in much of a mood to stand any more than was absolutely essential and als0 because my dad's not really a "sticky sweet" person.

I've got plans to finally finish my dad's birthday cake tomorrow too (why yes, I spoil him rotten!). I can't wait, especially since the design I have in mind will look SO pretty when it's done! Stay tuned for that, and for more upcoming goodies check out my Flickr photostream... my mom was awesome enough to buy me a 1-year pro account that I've finally finished organizing my files on now that I can access all 650+ shots!

Mom's Hot Cross Buns
Makes 12
2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2/3 cup warm buttermilk
3 cups flour
1 cup spelt flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
6 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup candied orange peel

---Paste for crosses---
3 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. water
  1. Place the yeast, sugar and water in a bowl.
  2. Let it sit 5 minutes, until foamy.
  3. Stir in buttermilk.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together flours with the spices and salt.
  5. Add 2/3 of the flour mixture to the yeast, stirring well.
  6. Mix in the butter, brown sugar, egg and dried fruit and peel.
  7. Add remaining dry mixture and mix until you have a sticky (but workable) dough.
  8. Knead for about 5 minutes on a floured surface, until smooth and elastic.
  9. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 1-1 1/2 hours, until doubled.
  10. Punch down and divide into 12 balls, placing them in a 9”x13” baking dish, spacing close together.
  11. Cover and let rise a further hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  13. Mix the flour and water for the crosses, put the mixture in a zip-lock bag and snip a tiny piece off the corner.
  14. Pipe a cross onto the top of each bun.
  15. Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 274.8
Total Fat: 4.9 g
Cholesterol: 28.4 mg
Sodium: 63.3 mg
Total Carbs: 52.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g
Protein: 6.1 g

These are going over to next week's version of YeastSpotting at WildYeast.

1 comment :

Lizzy said...

These look great. My mom made some this weekend, but they didn't look as good as these. Shhh. Don't tell her.