Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hot Cross Buns...one a penny, two a penny....

Hot Cross Buns are very traditional in Britain for Good Friday. They are a humble, subtle little bun...not very exciting, not very unusual but they are consumed in great quantities around this time of year. The cross commemorates the cruxificion of Jesus. Hot Cross Buns actually baked on Good Friday...unlike mine which were baked yesterday in preparation for today's posting....are believed to never go mouldy and may be hung from kitchen ceilings to ward off evil.....but then they are not so tasty!
THE RECIPE
taken from "The Festive Food of England" by Henrietta Green
1/2 oz dried yeast
1/4 cup soft light brown sugar
3/4 whole milk warmed to 80F
4 cups unbleached flour
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons mixed spice (I did 1 teaspoon of my beloved nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon allspice)
1/4 cup of butter (as usual I use salted)
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup of currants
scraps of pastry if you have them (I didn't)
MAKE SURE ALL INGREDIENTS ARE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE!
1.Sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar onto 2/3 cup of warmed milk, whisk together and wait about 15 minutes until nice and frothy.
2. Sift the flour, spices into a large bowl and add remaining sugar and pinch of salt.
3. Add the creamed yeast, the remaining milk and whisked eggs and mix together.
4. Knead into a soft dough, scatter the currants over the dough and knead again 'til evenly distributed. Cover and leave for 1 hour in a warm place 'til almost doubled.
5. Have ready two lightly buttered muffin tins.
6. Knock down the dough and knead for a couple minutes more.
7. Make a small ball of dough big enough to fill each space about 2/3rds full...repeat to fill all the muffin spaces.
8. Leave to rise again in a warm place for another 15 minutes,
9. Brush the buns with a glaze..either whisked egg white or in my case a sugary concoction of hazlenut simple syrup..yum, yum.
10. If you have spare pastry cut it into thin strips and lay over the buns in a cross, if you don't just slash the top of the buns deeply in a cross.
11. Bake in a 425F oven for about 15-20 minutes until nicely browned.
You can eat these buns hot or cold, with or without butter, with or without jam...but definitely with a steaming cup of tea!!! I kept them overnight in a cookie/biscuit tin and when I opened the tin this morning the smell was delicious.
"Hot cross buns, Hot cross buns,
One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns.
If you don't like them give them to your sons,
If your sons don't like them give them to your daughters,
But if you have none of these little elves,
Then you must eat them all yourselves"
Now, here's two questions , no three, about this little ditty:
1. How come the sons get first dibs?
2. Does this even rhyme?
3. This is not good advertising for Hot Cross Buns as it implies nobody will like them...so who made it up?...a baker who couldn't sell them?
HAPPY BAKING!!!
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