Easter- typically the time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus but as me, nor my family, are religious I’ll be spending my Holy Week scoffing my face full of treats.
I’m not a massive fan of chocolate, especially milk, so I don’t get turned on by the array of eggs that have been lining the supermarket shelves since Boxing Day. However, even with this knowledge, It didn’t stop my parents from purchasing a whole hamper of them for me last year but it’s safe to say that It won’t be happening again after they still sat there 3 months on. Also, with a belly full of my chocolate eggs, I don’t think my mother and father are that keen on the idea either.
So, what will I be replacing the chocolate void with this year? Of course, cake! Lots and lots of cake. I say you can’t pass this festive holiday without the nibble (or gorge) on a batch of hot cross buns so this is where I’ll start my week, with my pear, orange and ginger spiced version.
You can’t really go wrong with the standard bun, but as a lover of spice I adapted Paul Hollywood’s original recipe slightly. I prefer more of a kick to my bakes which is why I’m glad of the added addition of ginger in these. I also swapped the chopped apple for pear as I think it goes deliciously well with the slight heat, and instead of the apricot glaze which you typically find atop these juicy buns, I dowsed mine in an orange and ginger preserve.
PREP: 30 MINUTES (PLUS 3 HOURS PROOF)| COOK: 20 MINUTES| YIELDS: 15
- just over 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- just over 2 cups strong brown bread flour (or white, I just prefer brown)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 7g packet of fast action yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 75g sultanas
- 50g mixed peel
- 1 orange pekoe tea, brewed in hot water
- 1 conference pear, peeled and chopped into small chunks
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- just under 1 cup of plain flour, for the cross
- 1 miniature pot of ginger and orange marmalade, for the glaze
1) Brew your kettle and soak the sultanas and mixed peel with the orange pekoe tea bag. Soak for at least half hour.
2) In a small, non-stick saucepan, bring the milk to the boil. Remove from the heat and add butter. Set aside and leave this to cool until it is cool enough to touch but still warm.
3) Put the bread flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the now-warm milk mixture, and then add in the beaten egg. With a wooden spoon, stir the mix and then bring together with your hands. At this point, my mixture was still quite sticky so I added a few tablespoons more of flour.
4) On a lightly floured surface, tip out the dough and knead for 5 minutes. Put it into a lightly oiled bowl, top with a layer of oiled cling film and pop it somewhere warm for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
5) Then, with the dough still in the bowl, tip in the soaked fruit (drain the liquid off first), chopped pear, cinnamon and ginger. Knead into the dough to make sure it’s evenly distributed, cover and then leave for another hour.
6) Divide the dough into equal 75g pieces (make sure you’ve got an even batch!) and roll into a ball on a floured surface. Arrange on a parchment lined baking tray, remembering to space them a few inches apart, and cover with a clean tea towel. Don’t wrap the towel around the tray, just place it over the top. Again, leave for 1 hour.
7) Preheat your oven to 220C. Prepare the mix for the cross by placing plain flour into a bowl and adding 5 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have a thick, but smooth, consistency. Spoon this into a piping bag, or tube. Get your buns from their warm place and then pipe along the crosses.
8) Bake your beauties for 20 minutes, or until the tops are a nice golden colour.
9) Whilst they bake, prepare the glaze by heating orange and ginger jam in a saucepan over a medium low heat until the mixture is runny.
10) Remove the buns from the oven and brush over liberal amounts of gooey, orangey goodness. Leave to cool completely and then enjoy!