Breakfast, Brunch, Classics

Hot Cross Buns with Raisins and Candied Orange Peel

In my mind, I cannot celebrate Easter without an Easter lily plant ( I get one every year) and Hot Cross Buns. One of my fondest memories from growing up in India, was to buy Hot Cross Buns with my mother, right before Easter and delivering them to my Grandma. While Hot Cross Buns are not that popular in the US and certainly not in my household, I still make them, afterall, it is tradition!! Last year during the COVID-19 lockdown, I tried a recipe without yeast (remember, everyone was making sourdough and there was no yeast in the stores!!), it served its purpose, but this year when I got my hands on yeast and high quality candied orange peels (please spend the extra money to get the good kind like the FRATELLI MOTTA brand), I had no excuse but to make the buns. In the past I used a recipe that made a huge batch and no one would eat them, so now, this recipe is going to be a go to since it yields approximately 9 buns. I hope, someone out there is a hot cross bun fan and will make these soon.

Ingredients

 1/2 cup whole milk

2 1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast

2 Tbsp warm water

1 egg

2 Tbsp white sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

2 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed

1/2 tsp fine salt, use 1/4 tsp. if using salted butter

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp of ground cardamom

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

Raisins and chopped, candied orange peel (I never measure these)

For glaze:

1 egg yolk

1 tsp water

For the icing:

1 cup icing/confectioners sugar

2-3 Tbsp milk (add a little at a time )

Instructions

Heat your milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave until steaming with small bubbles around the edges. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Add your yeast to 2 Tbsp. warm water (about 110° F.). Stir, then set aside to proof.

Once milk has cooled to lukewarm, add egg and stir until well combined. (*Be sure your milk has cooled sufficiently, otherwise the egg will cook in the hot milk). Add the yeast mixture. Set aside.

In a large bowl add the sugar flour, salt, spices, and butter to bowl. Using your hands or a pastry fork, work the butter in to the flour until it has broken down a bit.

Add flour mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and attach the dough hook. Add milk/egg/yeast mixer to bowl. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding a bit more flour if necessary.

Add raisins and orange peel and knead until incorporated.

Remove dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

Remove dough to a floured surface and divide in to 9 equal portions. Form each portion into a ball and place in a greased 9×9 square pan. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until almost doubled and puffy – 60-75 minutes (note the rise in the picture on the right).

Preheat oven to 375° F.

When buns have risen, combine 1 egg yolk with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl. Brush tops and sides of buns well. Bake for 20 mins.

Allow the buns to cool completely before icing.

For the icing: Add icing sugar and milk.  Add more icing sugar (or milk) as needed to make an icing of piping consistency.  Pipe crosses on the bun and let the icing set.

Serve at room temperature or microwave for 30sec to achieve that “fresh-out-of-the-oven” feel.

Comfort food

Homemade Bread

 This is the first time my bread looked like and tasted like bread ! This recipe is from Julia Child and I was really excited when the dough rose and once baked, they even nice air pockets in them.  I need to keep making this recipe a couple of more time to inprove on it.  But if you guys a bread bakers, please try this recipe, its really good.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups water (105-115 F)

1/2 tablespoon dry yeast

1/2 tablespoon of sugar

3 1/2 cups AP flour

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/8-1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened.

Method:

1.Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl and mix with yeast and sugar till foamy.

2.Let sit for 5 minutes until creamy.

3.Put the yeast mixture, rest of the water and 3 1/2 cups of the flour into the mixer with the dough hook.

4.Mix slowly until blended then add the rest of the flour.

5.Increase speed and scrape down the sides till the dough comes together.

6.Back in mixer add butter 1 tbsp at a time (dough may come apart, but mixing will pull it back together).

7.Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball then place in a large buttered or oiled bowl.

8.Turn dough so it is completely coated in the fat, then cover in plastic for 45 minutes to an hour, till it has doubled in size at room temperature.

9.Butter 1 loaf pans.

10.Roll out into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle onto a lightly floured surface.

11.With the short end facing you, fold the dough into thirds like a sheet of paper to go into an envelope, creating a roll.

12.Pinch the seam closed, and pinch the ends enough so it will fit in the loaf pan.

13.Drop in the loaf pan seam side down and bake.

14.Cover the loaves with buttered plastic wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place (80°F) for 45 minutes, until they double in size.

15.Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the center of the oven.

16.Bake for 35-45 minutes til they are honey brown.

17.Immediately turn out of pans onto a rack to cool.

18.Once almost completely cool, they can be cut.

19.Store in an air tight container for upto a week.

20.Slice and Enjoy !

Breakfast, Classics, Pastry, Sweet

Hot Cross Buns !

Nothing says Good Friday Breakfast like warm Hot Cross Buns. Whether or not you are familiar with the nursery rhyme or whether it is a long-standing tradition (as for me) this is a recipe that will bring back happy memories or help you create some new ones !!
My mother made these every Good Friday, and I did not realize how much I missed them until I did not get them for 4 years in college. But now with a fully equipped kitchen, I set out to bake and carry on a family tradition! I hope you like it!

Ingredients:

• 1 cup warm milk (105°–115°F.)
• 5 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup dried currants
• 1/3 cup raisins

Method:
In a small bowl stir together milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let mixture stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.
Into a large bowl sift together flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cut butter into bits and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Lightly beat 1 whole egg. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in yeast and egg mixtures, currants and raisins. Stir the mixture until a dough is formed. Transfer dough to a floured surface and with floured hands knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Butter 2 large baking sheets.
On a floured surface with floured hands knead the dough briefly and form into two 12-inch-long logs. Cut each log crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Let buns rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bake buns for about 12 minutes. Transfer buns to a rack to cool slightly.
Fill in the Milk glaze into a pastry bag ( or a make-shift piping bag made out of a Ziploc bag ) and pipe a cross onto the buns and let the glaze set. Serve warm!!!