Easter is almost over! That means chocolate and the smell of baking hot buns. If you've ever wanted to make hot cross rolls yourself, now is the time. We're sharing a recipe from our best-selling baking bookBeatrix is bakingby Natalia Paul. It's the perfect weekend project and then the perfect little sweet treat whenever you want.
Since the last few hot cross rolls cross the oven threshold at Beatrix every Easter, I start a small stash of them in the freezer. These are the rolls that help me get through the next weeks… annoying eating two, four, ok, five rolls a day (don't judge!). This cake is an upgraded version of my original ninth grade home economics recipe with the addition of raw orange puree - a homage to shoo-fly buns from local bakery Babka. These buns are soft, sticky and smell of interesting spices.
Makes 12 rolls.
Taking onFrom dough to bun - at least 3 hours with plenty of hands-free rising time.
maintainsBest eaten the day they are made. Raise a toast if you eat the next day. They freeze and thaw beautifully.
2 large oranges
100 g (3½ oz) mix of currants and sultanas
520 g plain (all-purpose) flour.
60 g powdered sugar (very fine).
25 g (1 oz) whole milk powder
12 g (½ oz./3 heaping teaspoons) spice mix (or Beatrix's Secret Spice Blend - see Adaptrix below)
10 g fine sea salt
150 g/ml (5½ oz) room temperature water
20 g of fresh yeast
75 g of unsalted butter, soft and squid-like
cooking oil spray
100 g/ml (3½ oz) in cf
100 g powdered sugar (very fine).
½ vanilla pod, split
finely grated zest of 1 orange (reserved from 1 orange, above)
60 g (2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
5 g powdered sugar (1/8 oz/1 tsp).
2 g fine sea salt
10 g/ml (1/4 oz/2 tsp) vegetable oil
50 g/ml (1¾ oz) room temperature water
To make the batter, start by grating the zest lightly and then squeezing the juice out of one of the oranges. Keep the shell for the icing. Soak currants and sultanas in 20 g/ml (3/4 oz) juice. Cut off the bottom of the second orange and cut into pieces, removing the seeds along the way. Place the orange pieces in a food processor and beat them - raw and whole - into a mushy paste. Consider this: you'll need 250 g (9 ounces), so make up for the gaps with the remaining orange juice. Put aside.
Place the flour, sugar, powdered milk, spices and salt in a bowl and mix with your fingers. Pour the water into the bowl of the electric mixer, then add the yeast and mix well to dissolve. Fold the dry ingredients on top, then add the orange puree and soft butter.
Using the kneading hook, knead on speed 2 (above low) for 10 minutes. The shaggy cake will become fully cohesive and very moist. With the mixer running on low, add the soaked fruit and knead for 5 minutes. The finished dough should look loose and sticky.
I delay the addition of dried fruit so that they don't knead too long and fall apart and lose their juicy center.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, spray the top of the dough with spray oil and cover with cling film. Allow to double in size - about 1 hour at warm room temperature. This is the first proof.
In the meantime, make the glaze. Place the water, sugar and vanilla pod in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, then add the reserved orange zest (so the savory essence isn't lost in the heat).
I like a sticky topping, but not so sticky that the buns don't burn in the toaster (on days after baking). If you prefer a super-sticky glaze, you can cook the syrup longer.
Lightly spray a 30 cm × 40 cm (12 in × 16 in) thick baking sheet with spray oil and line with parchment paper. Choose a smaller tray if you want fluffy buns that bake close together.
When the dough turns out to be super soft and airy, transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Press lightly to release gas. Cut the dough into twelve 95 g (3¼ oz) pieces, then shape each piece into a ball (see page 176) and place on a 4 × 3 baking sheet. Lightly spray the top of the dough balls and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise for 30-50 minutes.* To have the oven ready when the buns are baked, preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
While the rolls are undergoing this final test, make the cross paste. Put the flour, powdered sugar, salt, oil and water in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until it becomes lumpy. If the paste is too thin, it will melt; if it is too thick, the cross will not adhere well. Adjust with a little extra flour or water as needed. Scrape the paste into a disposable piping bag with the small nozzle (#3). If you don't have a nozzle, cut off the smallest tip of the piping bag.
Check that the rolls are ready for baking by lightly pressing a greased finger into the dough to make an indentation. If the bump doesn't pop off, they're ready. Spray the buns with crosses. To do this, hold the end of the bag close to the buns and pinch the line in the middle of the row of buns. Let the pasta follow the hills and valleys of the rolls. Repeat to make all the buns cross.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, watch them after 10 minutes to make sure they don't bake too quickly.** Prepare the icing and pastry brush for the baked buns. If the glaze doesn't seem thick enough to apply with a brush, thin it out by adding warm water.
Remove the buns from the oven, place the baking sheet on the rack, then immediately brush each bun with a little glaze. The sound of the syrup hitting the hot buns is a great sound! Allow to cool and warm before dividing and brushing generously with butter.
In Beatrix, I grind my own blend of spices and add some ground pepper and coriander as these spices enhance dried fruit baked goods. The finished spice mix is still delicious or season it with other spices. My recipe is ground whole spices (except ground ginger): ¼ oz (10 g) cinnamon, 1/16 oz (2 g) coriander seeds, 1/16 oz (2 g) nutmeg, 1/8 oz (5 g) ) ground ginger, 2 g black peppercorns, 2 g allspice (pimento). Store in an airtight container.
Play with dried fruit - use prunes or diced figs, any currants, sultanas (golden raisins) or raisins. Add some candied citrus zest if you're sitting on this side of the fruit fence.
My favorite. Replace it with orange in batter and syrup.
*Under-risen or flat over-risen buns will have a firm but edible texture. Just eat them as soon as possible.
**If you burn them, cut and discard the charred crusts and make warm cross bread and butter pudding.