So a lot of people apparently have some very significant, deep traditions based around Easter long weekend. From church, to Good Friday Fish to family celebrations….I admire the concept of these traditions; but they are certainly not for me.
For the last few years our tradition has been getting together our group of wonderful friends and camping out on an olive farm in the Victorian Grampians. It may not be very traditional but it’s a wonderful time away with the best people you will meet. Our baking however is reduced to being as creative as we can over the campfire. Trust me, the feasts we come up with are pretty impressive given the surroundings (Full hot breakfast?Mexican fiesta? Roasted peaches stuffed with raspberries and white chocolate?) but it’s certainly nothing blog worthy.
The amazing moonlit cooking crew at the Grampians
Due to a hectic few months of surgery, wrapping up at one job and starting another, training for the Oxfam 100km, weddings, engagements and just general life…I’ve found myself a little exhausted. As a result I’m spending this long weekend at home for some much needed r and r. However not even one day in and I’m already getting stuck into the kitchen for some festive baking.
It’s Hot Cross Bun time!
It’s no secret that I used to work in the head office of the wonderful Bakers Delight so their bakers have set some pretty high standard to work against. I’ve watched literally thousands of hand cut hot cross buns getting pulled out of their provers and ovens so I’ve told myself nice and early that there is no point trying to compete with their traditional buns. So I’ve decided to make up a cheeky variation!
I cam across a fig and chocolate hot cross bun recipe just the other day and thought perfecto! This is my kind of thing! Only to found it chock full of spelt flour, stevia and almond milk. Now sure, I see the appeal for the health nuts around me….but I just can’t reduce the indulgence of festive baking down to a ‘healthy version’.Therefore, I’ve worked up my own recipe based on the Jamie Oliver hot cross dough and mixed up with the addition of dried fig and lovely dark chocolate chunks.
- 2 x 7 g sachet dried yeast
- 455 g strong bread flour , plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 55 g caster sugar
- 1 large free range egg
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 75g dried fig, chopped
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped
- 100g sultanas
- 200 ml semi-skimmed milk
- 55 g unsalted butterCross mix
- 75g plain flour
- 5 tbsp waterGlaze
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tbs caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp each cinnamon, sugar and mixed spice
1. Add the milk and 50ml water to a small pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until slightly warm – 26 degrees is the temp you want but for those without cooking thermometers handy this should feel warm but not scalding to the touch.
2. Meanwhile, add the butter to a separate pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until melted, then set aside.
3. In a small bowl, soak your sultanas and figs in a small ball of water. A little dash of orange juice into this is a nice addition and infuses a little citrus into the fruit. Soaking your fruit will ensure plump moist sultanas
4. Transfer the warmed milk mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the yeast. Set aside.
5. Sift the flour into a large bowl, then add the salt, spices and the sugar.
6. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, followed by the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add it to the bowl.
7. Using a fork, mix well until you have a rough dough, then transfer to a clean flour dusted work surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until soft and springy.
8. Return the dough to a flour dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.
9. Transfer the dough to a clean flour dusted work surface. Knock the air out by bashing it with your fist, then sprinkle over the dried fruit and chocolate and knead into the dough for 1 to 2 minutes.
10. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Grease and line a large baking tray.
11. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into balls. Evenly space them out on a lined baking tray as you go.
12. Cover with the tea towel and leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
13. Meanwhile, place the plain flour and 5 tablespoons water into a small bowl and mix to a thick paste.
14. Gently pat down the risen buns then use the batter to carefully trace a cross over the top with a piping bag or spoon.
15. Place the buns into the preheated oven for 15 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
16. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. Meanwhile, heat caster sugar and water until sugar dissolved. Mix in spices and glaze immediately onto cooling buns liberally
17. Slice open the sticky hot cross buns, spread with a little butter and serve – delicious