Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hot Cross Buns

At Eastertime, my dad who was a food distributor would swap with the bread guy for hot cross buns-except he called them (in a heavy Chicago accent) "Piss-pay-li-an Rolls." As you can imagine, any food that contained real, actual, not saccharine sugar glaze on top would be pretty popular at "Ye Old House of Diabetic." She probably ate them too.

This recipe isn't anywhere near "authentic", but it works, makes a good two dozen, and most of the ingredients you probably already have. I didn't have currants, so I used raisins. I don't think anyone noticed. I left half of the batch unglazed as they freeze better that way. As Pesach starts on Good Friday this year, I had to make some adjustments and get the Easter baking out of the way first. Up next, Kulich.

I will be putting together a few posts for holiday dishes with links in a central location over the next few days. If I've overlooked something, or you're looking for something I haven't made-ask! I probably have it in one of my cookery books (we all know how many books I own) and I can at least try to find you a recipe even if I haven't personally tested it.

These are based on my 1959 edition of Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cook Book. I've made some changes as to the type of flour, spice, etc. but their technique of rolling the dough and using a biscuit cutter is a really helpful technique I've not seen used elsewhere.

You Will Need:

3 teaspoons granulated dry yeast (not instant)
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup scalded whole milk
1/2 cup melted and cooled butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Scant teaspoon salt
2 cups strong flour
2-3 cups plain flour
1 heaping teaspoon mixed spice
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup raisins
1 beaten egg white

Glaze-confectioner's sugar and water

In a large bowl, proof the yeast in the water with a pinch of the sugar until foamy. Add milk, butter, sugar, salt, and bread flour. Mix well. Beat in the eggs. Add mixed spice. Add enough of the plain flour to make a dough that can be kneaded without being too sticky. Knead until smooth. Place in a buttered bowl, cover and let rise until doubled-a couple hours. Punch dough down and roll out into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut into rounds, then shape by pinching sides beneath as with dinner rolls. Place on buttered baking sheet. Cover, and let rise until nearly doubled-about 45 minutes. meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Before baking, cut a cross into tops and brush with beaten egg white. Bake about 15 minutes, or until done. Cool on rack. Ice cross with icing sugar and water mixture.

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