Saturday, April 7, 2012

hot cross buns

For the past three years I have wanted to make Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday.  This year I finally got around to it during the Great Week of Illness in our house...  The Great Week of Illness wherein our computer was starting to shut down and my camera was out of commission.  Perhaps more on that later.  (Suffice it to say, even a Mac has limits and 15,000 photographs and over 20 hours of stored video is about where those limits start to make themselves known.)
Anyhow, behold the slightly out of focus shot I snapped on my cell phone of those tasty buns.  We had them at tea time with butter and the last of last year's strawberry jam.  In a stroke of genius, I made the crosses from a tube of marzipan paste I've had sitting in my cupboard for some time.  Delicious.

Hot Cross Buns
 (We're a family of three so this recipe for six buns is perfect.  For double the buns, simply double the recipe.)

6 Tblsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 Tblsp. sea salt
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup currants
marzipan paste

-Butter a ceramic bowl and set aside. Place milk in a saucepan and warm over medium heat until it reaches 110°.  Using a dough hook in an electric mixer, combine milk, sugar, yeast, salt, butter, zests and eggs.  Add flour and mix until dough forms a soft, sticky ball.  Continue kneading for about four minutes more.  Add currants and knead to evenly distribute.
-Turn the dough onto a floured surface.  Knead it briefly and shape it into a ball.  Place it in prepared bowl and turn it to coat with the butter.  Cover and let the dough rise in a warm location until doubled in size (about two hours).
-Turn dough onto a floured work surface.  Knead briefly and roll into a log.  Divide the log in half then cut each half into three equal pieces (making six buns). Shape each piece into a ball.  Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper leaving a few inches between buns.  Cover and let the buns rise in a warm location until doubled in size (1 1/2 to 2 hours).
-Preheat the oven to 375°.  Roll the marzipan paste flat between two sheets of wax or parchment paper then cut into 1/4" strips.  Using the strips, lay crosses onto each bun.  Bake until golden brown (18 to 25 minutes).  Cool on a wire rack.
-Serve warm on Good Friday. 

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