Easter has, for as long as I can remember, always been one of my favourite holidays.
You see, the religious significance of it and abundance of chocolate that fills the shelves of the supermarkets whenever Easter draws near aside, Easter, to me, always signified that it was almost time to indulge in one of my favourite seasonal treats, something I have professed my love for with no shame repeatedly on this site; the hot cross buns.
So when Easter was fast approaching- a little earlier than usual- this year, I just couldn’t let Good Friday slip me by without baking up some hot cross buns, or one huge hot cross tea bread in this case, to be specific.
Given what a busy Good Friday I had lined up, it was a really good thing how easy it was to work this recipe round my schedule. I started soaking the dried currants in some freshly squeezed orange juice the night before, made and shaped the dough on the morning of Good Friday and let the dough rise in the fridge while I headed out for some really good pizza for a early pre-birthday lunch. So upon arriving home, all that was left to do was to let the dough come to room temperature, pipe the dough and bake it and viola- a freshly baked hot cross bun!
And for all that seriously fuss-free effort, this tea bread was really good fresh out of the oven- with a slightly dense crumb and dotted generously with dried fruits- and even better toasted slightly and served with unsalted butter.
So while this fantastically long Easter weekend might not be over just yet, I certainly will be polishing off this hot cross tea bread while dreaming of the hot cross buns- or some variation of it at least- to come next Easter.
Hot Cross Tea Bread [adapted from delicious April 2009 issue]Note: I didn’t change much to the recipe, apart from soaking the dried currants in orange juice to plump them up and adding the zest into the batter which i think really added a fantastic citrus flavour to the bread. I seriously love how easy this bread was to make and not having to divide the dough up into equal portions and gingerly shape them into balls for a second rising really was quite a bonus. That aside, happy Easter and I hope you guys had a great long weekend!
1 tsp caster sugar
7g dry active yeast
400g bread flour, divided
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
50g light brown sugar
80g dried currants
80g dried citrus peel
Juice and zest of 1 orange
50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp water
- To make the bun Measure out the dried currants into a small bowl. Squeeze the juice of the orange over the dried currants and leave the dried currants to soak in the orange juice in the fridge overnight.
- In a saucepan, heat the milk till lukewarm. Combine the caster sugar, yeast and 100g of flour in a bowl. Whisk the warm milk in until a smooth mixture forms. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave in a warm place for 25 minutes or till bubbles form on the surface.
- Grease a 18 cm springform cake pan. Line the base of the pan with baking paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift the cinnamon, nutmeg, remaining 300g of flour and salt together. Stir in the light brown sugar, plumped currants (drained of any excess orange juice), dried citrus peel, dried chelory and orang zest. Add the yeast mixture, cooled melted butter and beaten egg.
- Bring the mixture together with your hands, gently kneading for a few minutes till a dough forms. Continue kneading the dough on a lightly floured work surface until the dough feels smooth.
- Shape the dough into a circle and place in the cake pan. Cover with a clean tower and leave to rise in a warm place till the dough doubles in size. Preheat the oven to 200C when the dough is almost ready.
- To decorate Combine the flour and water till a thick, smooth pasta forms. Spoon the paste into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip and pipe a cross on top of the run.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and crust sounds hollow when you tap it lightly.
- To make the glaze Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat till the sugar dissolves. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the warm bun. Let the bun cool slightly before unmoulding from the pan and turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm with butter. Serves 8