It seemed that we had just ushered in 2014 when hot cross buns first made their appearance this year. Seriously, they’ve been commercially available for so long this year that they don’t really seem like a special treat anymore.
Treat or not, when I saw the first hot cross bun of the year back in January, I decided that this was they year I would finally make hot cross buns… and not just any hot cross buns either; I was going to make sultana-free hot cross buns!
So people, happy Easter, happy Pesach, happy hot cross bun season.
Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns
Makes 20 hot cross buns.
Recipe very slightly altered by Emma Knowles, as found on the Australian Gourmet Traveller website.
- 325g raw caster sugar
- 1 lemon
- 1½ Granny Smith apples (unpeeled, cored and diced)
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 750g plain flour
- 100g dried apple (diced)
- 30g candied orange (diced)
- 14g dried yeast
- 3½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- Finely grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 380ml milk
- 100gm butter (coarsely chopped)
- 1 egg
- Combine 260g sugar and 375ml water in a saucepan, then squeeze in juice of half a lemon and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves.
- Meanwhile, cut remaining lemon half into 5mm-thick slices, add to pan with the diced apple and cinnamon quill. Bring to the simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook until lemon and apple are translucent, 20-25 minutes.
- Strain, reserving fruit and syrup separately. When cool enough to handle, dice lemon, combine with apple and set aside.
- Combine 700g flour, dried apple, candied orange, yeast, 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, allspice, rinds, remaining sugar, reserved apple mixture (not the syrup) and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until butter melts and mixture is lukewarm.
- Whisk in the egg and then strain the milk and egg mixture into the flour, stirring to form a soft dough.*
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
- Place the dough in a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 30-40 minutes.
- Knock back the dough, divide it into 20 even pieces, then knead each piece into a smooth ball.
- Arrange dough balls into two concentric circles on a large round or rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving 1cm between each for dough to expand.
- Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30-40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 220°C. Combine remaining flour and 70ml cold water in a bowl and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle and pipe a cross shape onto each bun.
- Bake for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 200°C and bake until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped, approximately 8-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine reserved apple syrup and remaining ground cinnamon in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until syrupy and combined.
- Brush thickly over hot buns, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
* It is important to strain the egg and milk mixture into the flour mixture so that you can catch any bits of egg that might have scrambled from the warm temperature of the milk.