Wednesday 8 April 2009

Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

To me, hot cross buns are as much an integral part of the foodie festivities sounding Easter, as chocolate eggs are to other people. Shops are full of hot cross buns around this time of year but nothing beats the taste and enjoyment of making your own. This also means you can flavour them with whatever takes your fancy – chocolate chips instead of fruit – why not? Orange and cranberry combination – go ahead. For me, it has to be (unsurprisingly) apple and cinnamon hot cross buns.

This recipe started life as a normal hot cross but recipe and over the years I have adapted it into something I now believe to be my perfect hot cross bun. It’s packed with a generous amount of cinnamon and a grating of nutmeg for a lovely spicy note and contains a whole grated apple, skin and all for sweetness and flavour. I have also added some dried apricots into the fruit mix and substituted white sugar for light soft brown which gives the buns a real depth of flavour and seems to accentuate the subtle spiciness. This also makes the dough a lovely spicy brown colour, but as the buns bake and become bronzed and look the same as normal buns, until they are sliced which reveals their soft and spicy interior.

The smell as the hot cross buns baked was amazing; it filled the whole kitchen with a fruity spicy aroma that lingered on until the evening. They taste wonderful when still warm from the oven and spread with a little butter, soft, tender and full of flavour. They are not overly appley but I think the apple adds a moistness and sweetness to the buns and the little flecks of rosy red skin are always pleasing to see. They are also delicious slightly toasted and spread with a little jam. The perfect Easter treat.

Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns
Ingredients - For the Starter
1½ tsp dried yeast or 20g fresh yeast
1 tsp light soft brown sugar
100g white bread flour
200ml warm milk

For the Dough
400g white bread flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 red eating apple
50g butter, softened
50g soft light brown sugar
50g raisins
50g sultanas
75g dried apricots
1 egg

For the Crosses
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp water
½ tbsp runny honey for glazing

Make the starter: In a large bowl mix together the yeast, sugar and flour. Stir in the warm milk and mix to a smooth batter. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 20 minutes until the surface is covered with large bubbles. (You can prepare the rest of the ingredients in the meantime).
For the dough: Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the raisins and currants along with the dried apricots cut into small pieces. Core the apple, leaving the skin on and coarsely grate it into the mix. Add the sugar and the soft butter give it a gentle mix with your fingers.
Lightly beat the egg and add it to the starter along with the flour mixture once the 20minutes resting time is up. Mix everything together to a soft dough. Tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface; knead for five minutes until smooth and no longer sticky. Knead in more flour if it is still sticky after five minutes, as the type and size of your apple will add varying amounts of moisture.
Leave to prove in a greased bowl for 45minutes to 1hour until nearly doubled in size. Knock the dough back and divide it into 9-10 equal pieces and roll them between the palms of your hands into a ball. Lightly grease a baking tray and place the dough balls, a little apart, in a three by three formation. Oil a strip of clingfilm and gently lay it over the top of the buns and leave to rise for 1½ hours until they have doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 210C.
To make the crosses, blend the flour with the cold water to make a paste. Put the paste in a small food bag and snip off one corner. Pipe a cross on the top of each bun. Bake the buns for 16-18 minutes until risen and golden brown.
Gently warm the honey until runny. Transfer the buns to a cooling rack and brush immediately with the honey glaze, then leave to cool.
Makes 9-10 hot cross buns. The buns also freeze well.


Miette said...

How nice they are ! Very great job ! Yummy !



Snooky doodle said...

oh I love these and yours look so nice and yummy. wish I had one right now :))

Simones Kitchen said...

It looks absolutely delicious! I think apple and cinnamon is good in almost anything!

Johanna GGG said...

I agree home made is best - you don't get such a creative bun in the shops!

Nic said...

They do look perfect, great idea to add apples!

♥Rosie♥ said...

Absolutely perfect Hot Cross Buns Katie, one of my favourties too over Easter!

Nora said...

Oh my God, they look amazing! You've taken one of my favourite things in the world and added two more of my favourite things. Am definitely going to make them this weekend. Thanks in advance for the delicious Easter joy!

Abitofafoodie said...

They look fantastic. I really should try to make my own - I have a fear of bread-baking which I must get over soon!

Gigi said...

Oh wow! They look amazing Katie! I am so tempted to whip up a batch! YUM!

Elyse said...

Mmm, I love all of your changes to this traditional treat. Grated apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar?! What's not to love?! Sounds delicious, looks delicious. I must make these soon.

Jacque said...

Isn't it fun to develop your own recipes? Yours looks and sounds wonderful :)

Deborah said...

These look wonderful! I hope you ahd a great Easter!

The Caked Crusader said...

Perfect, perfect buns! I love the idea of adding apple - it would add flavour, moistness, contrast - very clever

PS. My sponges were shaped by the tin!

Nora said...

You might say these went down well in my house - I made them, blogged about how delicious they were, made them again and then my husband made them (and his rose better than mine!). A fantastic recipe that's destined to be brought out every Easter, so thank you!

Katie said...

Hi Nora.
I'm so pleased you tried and enjoyed the recipe. Your hot cross buns look fantatsic. Hope you had a happy Easter :)

Jude said...

Great looking buns. The flavors are so perfect for your blog, too!

midcenturylass said...

I made these buns today and they were yummy! Soft and fluffy inside with a lovely crust... Mine came out really big and a lot darker on the outside than in the picture.

Best hot cross bun recipe I've tried so far!

Might put a bit more spice in next time (tomorrow?!).