Hot Cross Buns

This dessert takes be back home to Canada at Easter. We used to eat them on Good Friday, of course not before, as we had to observe lent and dessert was out of the question. We would get them at my father grocery store and eat them with a little bit of butter. I started to bake them at home with the constant objective to make them as light as possible, with a good addition of various spices. Every year we say, these are the best, but this adapted recipe makes for a voluminous bun with a very light and airy dough. Buy the best candied fruits you can find and be generous with your spices. After all, you only make them once a year.
Adding the finishing touch to this wonderful dish by adding icing sugar with lemon juice.
The buns have a glossy finish – We achieve this result by adding a glaze made of sugar and water… Simply brush over the buns just after baking.
Divided in portions of approximately 110 grams, the dough will yield 12 generous buns.
One of our secrets is to let the dough rise in the oven. I place a large bowl with boiling water at the bottom of the oven and place the dough covered with a cloth, on a shelf just above.
This is the best substitute for a proofing drawer or proofing box.

Makes 12 buns

These traditional Good Friday treats are delicious, spicy yet sweet. Use the best Italian Candied fruits you can find and Sultana raisins for best results.

175 Ml. (3/4 Cup) Milk – Warm to the touch – (40 Degrees Celsius)
15 Gr. Active Dry Yeast
70 Gr. Sugar
3 Large Eggs at room temperature
125 Ml. (1/2 Cup) Vegetable oil
555 Gr. All purpose flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
3/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Groun Clove
75 Gr. (1/2 Cup) dried curants
100 Gr. (1 Cup) candied fruits of your choice

Generously butter a large bowl. Pour the milk in a small bowl and warm it in a microwave for a minute or so, until warm to the touch.
Pour the warm milk into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low, add yeast, sugar and the eggs. Mix for a minute or so.
Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice. Once incorporated, stir in the flour, one cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the salt and continue kneading for about 5 minutes.
Add the fruits and mix for another minute.
Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured surface. Knead by hand to evenly distribute currants and candied fruits; for 1 minute.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a buttered bowl. Cover with cling film and place in your oven. I usually place a bowl of boiling water at the bottom of the oven which helps the dough to rise considerably. Try it, it makes such a big difference in the rising.
Let the dough rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Generously butter two baking moulds or a large baking sheet. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured work surface and knead briefly to redistribute the yeast. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 110 gr)
Shape the pieces into tights balls and place on baking sheet, with a little space in between, as they will almost double in size.
Place them in the oven once again for 1 hour.
Again, place a bowl of hot water at the bottom of the oven, it will help the dough to rise even more.
Heat your oven at 190 Celsius with the rack positioned in the centre of the oven.

Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.

In a small saucepan, stir in 1/4 Cup sugar with 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. Once the buns are out of the oven, let them rest for 10 minutes and using a small brush, glaze them with the sugar syrup.

In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of powder sugar with a tablespoon of milk. Mix well. The texture should be quite thick.
Using a piping bag, simply create a cross on each bun. Let the sugar cool until firm.

The buns freeze very well – I usually cut them in half and freeze them.
Remove them one at a time and put them in the toaster, for a wonderful breakfast !

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