She picked at the spiced dough on her fingers,
bejewelled golden raisins and apricots,
cardamom and cinnamon that lingered in sweet
warm aromas of rich gilded colours.
Her fingers were stained amber, and the tip
of her nose was powdered yellow with pollen.
Surrounded by spring, her head was awash
in the scent of spiced hot cross dough as she
inhaled April’s arrival, drinking up the scent of her
hot cross buns and 100% yellow daffodils.
© MiskMask 2012
Dan Lepard’s Hot Cross Buns
Thanks to Dan Lepard, I’ve broken the tradition of baking bullet-proof buns. For the life of me, I don’t know why my rolls resemble croquette balls rather than something edible. The baps that I made a few months were okay; they didn’t bounce off the floor and threaten to blind anyone. I was encouraged. Then I made cottage rolls, and I was back to blinding buns again. So I was a bit, just a bit, anxious about trying buns again. There was no need. Dan’s recipe for hot cross buns is a confidence-builder.
I only made two adjustment to the recipe, 1) replacing the honey and sugar with agave syrup so that my diabetic husband could have one (the double cream isn’t ideal for him so replacing the honey helps with lower the GI number), and 2) I used half raisins and half apricots rather than the mixed dried fruit.
The dough was very sleepy and didn’t rise much on the first proof. I finally moved the bowl to the airing cupboard, and things moved along better. After shaping the dough into balls, I let them rise again in the warmth of the airing cupboard, and although not evenly shaped, they did rise well. I need to work on my shaping skills!
All was going so well, too. And then disaster. I don’t have a pastry bag, so I used a plastic freezer bag with the tip of one corner snipped off. The first few crosses were a bit unsteady but soon I had the feel for it, and my thin straight lines spilled across the top of the buns.
And then bag blew its side out and the semi-snotty-gluey white cross mixture flew across the top of the buns, across the worktop, on the window, my shoe and the wall. The only thing I could manage to utter was a whimpering Ooooooh noooooo. I salvaged what I could and continued.
The recipe didn’t mention steaming the oven, but after a trial bake of two buns in which one bun blew its top and side, I thought it wise to put some moisture into process. There was fantastic oven spring that more than compensated for its sleepy proofing.
I recommend these wholeheartedly. Easy to make and absolutely delicious. We ate two, and I’ve frozen the rest for Easter Breakfast. You can find Dan Lepard’s recipe at The Guardian Newspaper’s website. If that link doesn’t work, here’s the URL. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/mar/23/hot-cross-buns-recipe-custard-tart