With Easter just around the corner, it’s time to start up the Hot Cross Bun production line again. I always think home baked Hot Cross Buns taste so much better than store bought, and you can mix up the flavours a bit with different combinations. One of my favourites is Apple Cinnamon, made with tart Granny Smith apples rather than the more traditional dried fruit. Excellent for a mid morning snack or anytime really.
Time to pop on the pinny and get baking.
APPLE CINNAMON HOT CROSS BUNS
Recipe by Emma Knowles
325 gm raw caster sugar
1½ Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, diced
1 cinnamon quill
750 gm (5 cups) plain flour
150 gm sultanas or golden raisins
50 gm dried apple, diced
30 gm candied orange, diced
14 gm (2 sachets) dried yeast
3½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
finely grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
380 ml milk
100 gm butter, coarsely chopped
Combine 260gm sugar & 375ml water in a saucepan, squeeze in juice of half a lemon and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, cut remaining lemon half into 5mm-thick slices, add to a saucepan with the Granny Smith apple & cinnamon quill. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium & cook until the lemon & apple are translucent (20-25 mins). Strain, reserving fruit & syrup separately. When cool enough to handle, dice the lemon slices within the apple mixture & set aside.
Combine 700gm flour, sultanas, dried apple, candied orange, yeast, 3 tsp ground cinnamon, allspice, rinds, remaining sugar, reserved apple mixture & 1 tsp salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Combine the milk & butter in a small saucepan, warm over low heat until butter melts & mixture is lukewarm. Whisk in the egg, then add the milk mixture to flour, stirring to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface & knead until smooth & elastic (8 - 10 mins). Place in a lightly buttered bowl, cover & stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30 - 40 mins).
Knock back the dough, divide into 20 even pieces, then knead each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange the dough balls into two concentric circles on a large round or rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving 1cm between each ball for the dough to expand. Cover with a tea towel & stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30 - 40 mins).
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Combine remaining flour & 70ml cold water in a bowl, & stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle, & pipe a cross shape onto each bun. Bake for 10 mins, then reduce oven to 200°C & bake until the buns are golden & sound hollow when tapped (8 - 10 mins).
Meanwhile, combine reserved syrup & remaining ground cinnamon in a small saucepan, stirring over medium heat until syrupy & combined. Brush thickly over hot buns, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with a fruit butter and hot chocolate.
All Images © Deborah Aspray - Motif Lifestyle Images Ltd 2019