Tag Archives: Easy

Easter treat: Hot Cross Buns

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Easter is fast approaching and given that I have been completely away from this blog for a couple of months, I decided to use the approaching holiday as an excuse to do some writing.

I’ve made hot cross buns more than once now and I feel pretty confident that anyone can make them successfully just by following the recipe carefully. They don’t take much time (aside from the rising times which can’t be helped) and the house smells deliciously while they bake.

So, why not give them a try instead of buying them from a shop, they can be used as an excuse to get the whole family baking this Easter 🙂

Ingredients (makes 12 buns):

7 grs. dried yeast.

5 tablespoons lukewarm water

150 ml lukewarm milk

450 grs. strong plain flour

85 grs. caster sugar

1 level teaspoon of salt

2 level teaspoons mixed spice (I used 1 teaspoon cinnamon, half teaspoon ginger and half nutmeg).

60 grs. softened butter

85 grs. currants

30 grs. chopped mixed peel

1 big egg beaten.

To make the crosses:

75 grs. plain flour.

2-3 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon sunflower oil.

For the glaze:

2 tablespoons each of milk and sugar.

On his book “How to bake” Paul Hollywood suggests a different glaze which also sounds good so I’m sharing: 2 tablespoons apricot jam dissolved on 2 tbsp water. Heat until the jam is dissolved and paint your buns with it once they are out of the oven.

How to:

1.- Place the instant yeast in a small bowl, add the 5 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and the lukewarm milk. Cover and leave till it froths:

DSC052212.- In another bowl mix the remaining flour, the salt and the spices. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles sand.

3.- To the flour mixture add the currants, the peel and the sugar. Then make a well in the middle.

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4.- Into the well add the yeast mixture and the egg and mix to form a dough. Tip into a lightly floured surface or work inside the bowl if it is big enough. At first the mixture will be sticky, but keep working it and it will turn into a pliable and soft dough.

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5.- Your dough has to be soft, so don’t add more flour, rather try to work it carefully for at least 10 minutes till it becomes soft and elastic.

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6.- Place the dough into a bowl, cover with cling film or a plastic bag and let it rise for at least an hour, or until it doubles in size.

7.- After an hour, re-knead and divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place, slightly apart, on greased baking sheets and cover. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

DSC052308.- After 30 minutes preheat the oven at 190 C, and start to prepare the mixture for the crosses:

Sift the plain flour and add the oil and enough water to create a paste that will hold it’s shape when piped. Spoon into a small piping bag and pipe a cross on top of each bun.

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9.- Bake the buns for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

10.- Mix the sugar and milk and heat. Brush the buns with this mixture as soon as they leave the oven. If your hot cross buns come out of the oven still a bit pale, just brush them with the milk and popped them back into the oven with the glaze on…they will come out beautiful!

And that’s all! Just 10 steps to home-made, scrumptious, hot cross buns!

DSC05157HAPPY EASTER TO EVERYONE!!!

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Spelt, dairy-free, English Muffins

DSC08229Yes! No butter needed!  and they are as tasty as the traditional ones. They are fluffy, lovely toasted and perfection itself with strawberry jam or a bit of Marmite. They also make amazing sandwiches…

DSC08232Ingredients (makes 8 muffins):

230g white spelt flour

200ml lukewarm water

15g coconut oil.

1 teaspoon instant yeast.

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon demerara sugar (or 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar)

1/2 cup Fine semolina

How to:

1.- In a small bowl or cup dissolve the yeast and sugar in 50ml of the lukewarm water. Let it stand until it froths.

2.- Melt your coconut oil and let it cool to room temperature.

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3.- In a bowl mix the flour with the salt and make a well in the centre.

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4.- Add the yeast, coconut oil and remaining lukewarm water and mix until you form a dough.

DSC081925.- Pour it into a floured surface and knead gently for a minute so that all the ingredients are combined. It will be a rather sticky dough, but try to resist the urge to add too much flour or you’ll end up with tough muffins.

DSC082026.- Place in the bowl again and let it rest, covered, until doubled in size. Typically this will take 1 hour, but it can be longer or shorter depending on the temperature in your home.

7.- After an hour or so, place the dough in a surface dusted with semolina. Semolina will keep your dough from sticking to your working top therefore making the whole process of shaping and cutting your muffins a lot easier. It will also give them a nice crunchy layer.

Roll the dough out till it is 1.5 cm thick. Remember muffins will rise some more during cooking.

DSC082038.- Cut discs of 5-6 cm diameter. Or , if you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can make small balls (the size of a golf ball) and then flatten them, to get the shape of a muffin.

You can also use the rim of a glass to cut the discs, just make sure to dip it into flour before using, that way, it won’t stick to the dough.

DSC082059.- Place your muffins carefully in a tray covered in semolina. Let the muffins rise for 20 minutes, covered.

10.- After 20 minutes, place a pan on a medium heat. Paint with a bit of coconut oil or other oil of your choice.

Add as many muffins as your pan will take, allowing for a bit of space between them, as they will puff during cooking.

11.- Cook for 5 minutes on one side, then flip.

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12.- Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the fire and keep warm by wrapping them in a clean tablecloth, while you cook the remaining muffins.

Then can be eaten warm, straight out of the pan, or you can split them in half and toast them, for extra deliciousness.

DSC08236Have a great Tuesday!

Soon to come… the first of the Christmas Baking!!

Namaste,

Paula