Monday, 2 April 2012
Getting that Easter feeling: Hot Cross Muffin Buns
Unfortunately, I remember when you could only get hot cross buns at Easter. Now you seem to be able to get them all the time and I think that is the reason why I have never really entertained making them. Far too easy to buy. But Lola's curiosity at the reasons behind the hot cross bun and the significance of Easter sort of made me think twice about making some, and it was quite satisfying to make them. Lola and Finn got involved at each suitable opportunity, and it became a joint operation, culminating in a cup of tea and warm hot cross bun as ample reward for our labours.
The only muffin thing about these is the tins they are made in, and I like the idea of creating individual ones, surrounded in a robe of greaseproof paper. You could play with the spicing; I went down the mixed spice route this time, but other journeys will see me adding cinnamon and nutmeg, and 'fruitier' fruit. I used up some sorry looking dried fruit which was leftover from Christmas cake making which I plumped up with the juice of a lemon (the lemon which loses its zest to the dough mixture, as you will see in the recipe) but I would definitely invest in some of that real luxury dried fruit mix that you can get now, all luscious with dried cherries and candied peel. Their inclusion would elevate this muffin to heady heights indeed.
This recipe is slightly tweaked from that which is from 'GoodFood' magazine, (or more specifically, 'GoodFood Cupcakes and Small Bakes' a thankfully tiny size book with lots of wonderful recipes which I can hide in a little nook on the cookbook shelves, so it doesn't look so obvious that I have bought yet another cookery book.
Hot Cross Muffin Buns, slightly adapted from 'GoodFood Cupcakes and Small Bakes'
900g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
100g butter, cut into pieces (I used salted on this occasion)
2 x 7g sachets fast action yeast
4 tsp mixed spice
100g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of two lemons (reserve the juice for plumping up your dried fruit)
500ml tepid milk, plus extra to glaze
400g mixed dried fruit
For the crosses and glaze:
5 tbsp plain flour
5 - 7 tbsp cold water
Golden syrup, to glaze
Put the flour and salt in a bowl and add the butter. Rub the butter in to form breadcrumbs.
Add the yeast, spice, sugar and lemon zest, then mix in the milk. Knead for 10 minutes, then leave to rise, covered, until doubled in size.
Meantime, weigh out your dried fruit and put it in a bowl. If it is looking a little dry, squeeze the lemon juice, left from the zested lemons, into the fruit and stir to combine. Leave to macerate.
When the dough has risen, knock it back slightly and either put onto a floured surface or put back in the mixer with the dough hook. Whichever way you choose, add the fruit and incorporate as evenly as possible into the dough.
Divide the mixture into 18 balls, or get an assistant to do it. Your daughter maybe. Mine were probably the size of a small to medium apple.
Cut out squares of greaseproof paper, big enough to fit into the muffin tin with some overhang.
Place the greaseproof paper squares into each muffin 'hole' and then put in a ball of the dough. Repeat.
Allow the dough balls to rise again, about 30 - 45 minutes, then preheat the oven to 180c.
Brush the tops with milk, then mix the flour and the water to form the paste for making the crosses. I piped my crosses over the buns with a little piping bottle.
Bake for about 15 minutes or so until golden. Remove from the oven and brush with the golden syrup whilst still warm.