Super Soft Hot Cross Buns

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I always experience a strange combined feeling of being amused and aghast when I see Easter buns already for sale at the supermarket in February.  I have heard this violation reproached with considerable heat by certain people at times (every Easter)… ‘If you’ve been eating them for morning and afternoon tea for the last month or two, they are no longer special at Easter time!‘, is the argument.  And it’s true too.  

 

Mind you, this premature appearance of Easter buns hardly bears mentioning when I recall my bemusement at seeing the traditional Christmas foods (mince pies et al) making their annual grocery shop debut in August last year.  Yes, August!  I could hardly believe my eyes, and I actually took a photo as evidence.  

 

But right or wrong, it does get one thinking about the treats that go along with whichever given holiday season is on the horizon.  Which is the point, I suppose, from a marketing perspective.  And I am as much a sucker for marketing as the next person.  So as a result,  even though I have not bought any, I have been thinking about Hot Cross Buns for several weeks now.  You may well wonder why it’s taken me till today to do anything about it… and I can only plead procrastination.  Sigh.  I am so very talented in the fine art of procrastination.

 

But really, I do ask to be excused, as this is my first time attempting to recreate this particular old favorite, and there have been serious things to consider.  I have been pondering ways to overcome the very great trouble of having to viagra sans ordonnance leave out the sultanas  – A.K.A raisins – (great nasty fructose trap that they are).  I know some people prefer the fruit free variety, and they don’t have to concern themselves with this, but I always liked those sweet sticky little morsels in my Easter buns.  So after some thought, I decided to try making fructose free candied peel, and throwing in a little handful of that instead.  

 

And I like the lovely soft-as-a-cloud type buns, rather than their more chewy counterparts, so I have used my soft cinnamon bun recipe as a starting point.  They are rising for the second time as I type this, so we shall soon see…

(Another hour goes by… ),  And the verdict is… they are delicious! WIN!

 

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 This recipe is adapted from the King Arthur Flour Cinnamon Bun one.  And the candied citrus peel is adapted from Martha Stewart.

Super Soft Hot Cross Buns
Pillowy soft, fructose free hot cross buns.
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Candied Peel
  1. (total and utter ripoff from Martha Stewart - I have just changed the sugar to dextrose)
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 4 cups dextrose
  4. Peel from 3 oranges (or 2 grapefruits, or 4 lemons)
  5. - This makes way more than you need for this recipe, and it can be stored in its syrup in the fridge for ages. The syrup is also delicious (and is inspiring me to make an orange almond cake to pour it over!)
Dough
  1. 3 1/2 cups (420 gr) bakers flour (plain/all purpose flour will work too if you haven't got that)
  2. 2 tsp instant yeast
  3. 3 Tbsp (30 gr) (I use a 20 ml tbsp not 15 ml!)potato flour (or a slightly heaped 1/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes)
  4. 2 Tbsp (20 gr) milk powder (dry milk)
  5. 3 Tbsp (35 gr) dextrose
  6. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1 tsp cinnamon
  8. 1 tsp mixed spice (you could add more spice if you like - this is quite mild)
  9. 4 Tbsp (60 gr) softened butter
  10. 1 Tbsp (20 gr) glucose syrup
  11. 2/3 cup (150 gr) lukewarm water
  12. 1/2 cup (115 gr) lukewarm milk
  13. 1/4 cup (40gr) candied peel (homemade fructose free!) cut into tiny bits
For the crosses on top
  1. 1/2 cup plain/all purpose flour
  2. 4-5 Tbsp water (more if needed, it needs to be a thick, but pipe-able paste)
Also on top
  1. 2 Tbsp melted butter (for brushing over after baking)
Glaze
  1. Syrup from the candied peel (or 2 Tbsp melted rice malt syrup)
Candied Peel
  1. 1. Using a small sharp knife, cut slits from top to bottom of the orange. Using your fingers, gently remove the strips of peel
  2. 2. Trim the white pith from the strips using your small knife, toss the pith in the bin.
  3. 3. Place the peels in a saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring the the boil. Drain water. Cover with cold water, and bring to the boil again, and drain (This sounds a little fiddly, but who am I to argue with Martha?)
  4. 4. Combine the dextrose and the water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil.
  5. 5. Add peel, and simmer for about an hour (or until the peel looks kind of translucent).
  6. 6. Cool on a rack. Reserve the syrup for other uses (pouring over an orange almond cake comes to mind...)
Buns
  1. 1. Add all of the dough ingredients to a large bowl, mix and knead. You can use your hands, a mixer with a dough attachment, or bread machine with dough setting (I use my thermomix).
  2. 2. When the dough is smooth and soft, add the peel, and knead it into the dough. Shape it into a ball, and put it in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl, leave it in a warm place and let it rise for about 90 minutes (or till doubled in size).
  3. 3. Gently punch the dough down, and place it on a lightly greased surface.
  4. 4. Split the dough into 18 buns (to do this, I like to form the dough into an 18 inch long log, and then cut one inch pieces). Form them into balls and then place evenly spaced in a greased baking dish. I use a 33x23x5cm (13x9x2in) ceramic baking dish
  5. 5. Allow the buns to rise again for about 90 minutes, or until they are all cozily crowded together.
  6. 6. Just before baking, make the flour paste for the crosses. Err on the side of 'too thick' rather than 'too runny' (mine was a bit on the runny side). Use a piping bag (or just a ziploc bag with a small hole cut from one corner) and carefully pipe the cross shapes onto the buns.
  7. 7. Bake at 160C (320F) for 20-24 minutes, turning half way through (unless your oven cooks evenly)
  8. 8. Brush the tops of the buns with melted butter after baking, and then cover with a teatowel while they cool (this will help give them a softer top).
  9. 9. Just before serving, brush the the buns with syrup from the candied orange, or melted rice malt syrup.
  10. 10. Serve with heaps of butter (or however you prefer)
Thermomix instructions for making the dough
  1. 1. Add all dough ingredients to thermomix bowl, mix on speed 6 for 5 seconds.
  2. 2. Turn to lid closed, interval speed (dough setting) for 2 mintues. Add the citrus peel through MC hole 15 seconds before it finishes (or knead the peel through by hand if you prefer).
Notes
  1. The candied peel and syrup will crystalize after a few days in the fridge. Dextrose does that, but it's still fine to use. Just heat it and the crystals will dissolve again (like crystalized honey does).
Adapted from King Arthur Flour cinnamon bun recipe
Adapted from King Arthur Flour cinnamon bun recipe
Red Hill Recipes http://www.redhillrecipes.com/
 

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