By popular demand.
Frilly’s Hot Cross Buns
You will need:
300mls full fat milk, 50gms butter.
500gms Strong plain flour, 75gms Caster Sugar, 1tsp Salt, 7gms Fast Action Yeast (standard sachet), 1 well-beaten egg.
75gms Sultanas, 25gms dried Apple bits (or two peeled, cored and chopped), zest of 1 Orange, 1tsp of Cinnamon.
85gms plain flour (plus more for dusting,etc) and water to mix a paste substance
Apricot Jam – 2-3tbls.
A good-sized bowl, light oil and cling film, wooden spoon, baking trays.
Bring the butter and milk to a just below boil, as it cools whisk to combine, let it cool to baby bottle wrist check temperature.
Mix flour, sugar, and yeast, then tip in the salt, mix again, then create a well centre.
Tip in the milk and butter solution, then the whisked egg. Blend with a wooden spoon to form a sticky dough ball.
On a floured surface, and well-floured hands, start your knead. This is a stretch knead – heel of one hand holding down one end and stretching out t’other. Fold over back on itself, and repeat for 5 mins. You will see it smoothing out and getting more elastic. When you achieve this, it’s ready for its first proof.
Lightly oil a good-sized bowl, and a stretch of clingfilm (I usually do that bit first, I layer the clingfilm over the back of the bowl and swipe it all over with a pastry). I use a light thin rapeseed. You do this so the dough won’t catch the sides as it swells, and the oiled side of the cling film cover is to prevent a rind forming.
Sit your dough ball in and cover the top of the bowl with the oil side down sheet of cling film, make sure there is loads of head room between your dough and the cover, so use a pasta pot if you have to.
Sit it somewhere cosy for a good hour, let it double in size, there is no rush, let it do the work for you. Don’t be a dough watcher You’ll know its ready for the next stage if it’s boldly doubled in size.
Keep your dough in the bowl, and tip in your Sultanas, Cinnamon, *Apple and Orange Zest. Or whatever your combination of fruits, fresh, dried or even candied, and spices are.
* Now I use dried apple purely for convenience and sourced from one of my best lockdown round 1 finds.
If you use Fresh Apple, just watch the colour and the moisture. Dough recipe can cope with 50 gms candied peel and an extra tsp of spices, mixed, nutmeg, whatever, doesn’t have to be cinnamon.
Knead the fruits and spice into the dough while still in the bowl. Cover with your oiled cling film again, and leave it back in its cosy spot for another hour, or till its doubled in size again.
When you’re happy with it, weigh the dough ball, and decide how many you want out of it, 12 – 15 is about right.
Cut into equal portions, and form balls, this can be awkward because of the sultanas, etc., but they don’t have to be teacake perfect.
Sit each of your bun balls onto lined baking trays and cover again in lightly oiled cling film, or even a clean tea towel. You don’t want a rind forming, and this is its last proof btw. So give it another hour.
Meanwhile, make your paste, take the plain flour and start to mix tbls of water at a time, until you have achieved a wallpaper paste consistency – pour or edge your paste into an icing bag, if you have one, if you don’t improvise with some freezer bags or parchment paper rolled into a cone shape.
When your dough balls are nicely swollen, dispose of the cling film and criss-cross away.
To the oven:
Hot oven – preheated of course: 200º fan or 220º/ Gas mark 7
20 minutes – don’t flinch here at the strong golden-brown colour that will come over them
While they rest on a cooling tray, loosen up your jam by warming it up, sieve if you have to, it needs to be glossy smooth, and while your glaze is still warm brush over your buns.
A couple of hints:
All dough needs is patience – arrange your prep around errands chores telly etc, and you’ll not even notice, you might even forget. You can never proof dough too much, but not enough proofing is a mistake you can’t get your bake back from.
Also, by letting the buns go a deep brown you are getting yourself a proper Hollywood handshake crust
This bake is way easier to do, than reading and following the recipe. I promise.
Text and pics by Vanessa Foran