While cleaning through my stored boxes in my parents' basement a couple of years ago I found this little book. My mother had found it at a thrift store and then tucked it into my boxes for me. It's a treasure. It has a selection of Easter breads from around the world, accompanied by charming line drawings, and background stories.
As it is my pleasure to host April's Fresh from the Oven challenge, I challenged the group to make hot cross buns, a traditional Easter baked treat. I am eager to see what the other group members come up with. Stop over at the Fresh From the Oven group blog to find out.
Hot Cross Buns
3 1/2 - 4 c (440 - 500 g) whole wheat flour
3/4 c (190 ml) lukewarm milk
1/2 c (125 ml) lukewarm water
1 package (2 1/2 t) active dry yeast
1 T sugar
1/4 c (65 g) sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 c (55 g) butter, melted
1/4 t allspice
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 c (75 ml) orange juice
1 c (160 g) mixed dried fruit
1 c powdered sugar
1 t grated lemon peel
1 1/2 T milk
In a mixer bowl, combine 1 c (125 g) flour, milk, water, yeast, and 1 T sugar. Beat well. Set in a warm place until frothy. melt butter; cool. To the yeast sponge, add remaining sugar, salt, melted butter and spices; beat in eggs and orange juice, one at a time. Add 1 c (125 g) flour and beat 5 minutes with electric mixer. Gradually add remaining flour, currants, and citron. Turn out onto floured board and knead until smooth and elastic (8 - 10 minutes). Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top of dough. Cover with kitchen towel and set in warm place until doubled in bulk. Punch down. Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead lightly for 2 minutes. Divide dough into 24 equal parts and shape into buns. Place well apart on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until almost doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
Make a cross (X) on each bun with a razor blade or sharp knife. Brush with egg yolk beaten with 1 T water. Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 15-20 minutes or until golden in colour. Cool on wire rack.
Make the glaze by mising the ingredients. Drizzle over buns in the cross design.
Some English recipes add strips of pastry dough over the cross before baking, instead of the icing.