With Easter just a week away, and the Easter school holidays about to begin, try your hand at making these delicious hot cross buns from the kitchens of Constance Halaveli.
- 30g fresh yeast
- 4 cups white bread flour
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 40g butter
- 1 ¼ cups sultanas
- 1 ½ teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon gelatin
1. Lightly grease a baking tray. Place the yeast, 2 teaspoons of the flour, 1 teaspoon of the sugar and ½ cup warm water in a small bowl and stir well. Leave in a warm, draught-free place for 10 minutes, or until bubbles appear on the surface. The mixture should be frothy and slightly increased in volume. If your yeast doesn’t have foam, you will have to discard it and start again.
2. Sift the remaining flour and spices into a large bowl, stir in the sugar and rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir in the sultanas. Make a well in the centre, stir in the yeast mixture and up to ¾ cup water to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth, adding more flour if necessary, to prevent it from sticking.
3. Place the dough in a large floured bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and leave in a warm, draught-free place for 30 – 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
4. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to deflate. Divide into 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Place the balls on the tray, just touching each other, in a rectangle 3 rolls wide and 4 rolls long. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes, or until nearly doubled in size.
5. To make the crosses, mix the flour, sugar and 2 ½ tablespoons of water into a paste. Spoon into a paper piping bag and pip crosses on top of the buns.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Put the sugar, gelatin and 1 tablespoon water in a small pan and stir over the heat until dissolved. Brush over the hot buns and leave to cool.