With Easter approaching, my boyfriend is always seduced by the hot cross buns we see in supermarkets everywhere. I have never understood how a sweet bread (ugh) with raisins (double ugh) could yield such appreciation from him. I usually buy some, and end up trying them and then promising myself I won’t eat anymore because they taste… sweet! I have an issue with sweet bread.
This weekend I thought I’d make them as a treat for him. After last week’s bread lesson, I felt pretty confident that they would turn out OK, and besides I wanted to see what they’d taste like.
I used Delia Smith’s recipe from her Complete Illustrated Cookery Course. It came out really well; I was worried about the fact that my yeast seemed to be a bit, erm, inactive, but it still did its job. Delia tells you to not use easy blend yeast, and I followed her recommendation, but next time I make them (next week?) I may well branch out and try it. Kneading proved (oh no! pun!) a bit tricky, as the dried fruits tended to get flinged across the room every time I slammed the dough on the counter. I kept finding them everywhere even after I baked the buns.
The white dough for the crosses was a bit of a disappointment. The amount that Delia recommends is way over what’s necessary (I used less than a quarter), and in my opinion has far too little water. I added only a bit more to make it pliable, but next time I will make sure it is quite runny and pipe it onto the buns, as it is a bit tough and weird, and contrasts with the softness of the buns in a way that is not altogether pleasant.
Oddly enough, I really enjoy these! (meaning I had two, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here). They’re not as sweet as purchased ones, and the raisins in them work really well. I replaced one-third of the all-purpose flour with wholemeal, and it made them a bit more dense but also more flavourful – I actually think it suits them. I’ve been enjoying mine with curd, which I don’t think is very traditional, but I don’t like jam (shock!). My boyfriend still prefers the shop ones, as in his opinion these don’t have enough fruit; I’ll up the amount considerably for next time, and then we’ll see who wins.