These aromatic rolls are sure to be a star at your Easter table. Hot cross buns are traditionally served on Good Friday, but I think they also make a lovely addition to your holiday brunch spread. There are a bunch of interesting stories about hot cross buns and what they can be used for and when they were allowed to be served. I can let you research that on your own time. One thing that I love about these rolls is that it follows the tradition of the crossed being baked into the buns, instead of piped on the top with a frosting.
Orange Cardamom Hot Cross Buns
1 cup raisins or currants soaked in 1/3 cup boiling water and 1/3 cup dark rum
1 cup milk, slightly warmer than room temperature. (100 degrees)
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 package rapid rise yeast
4 cups bread flour (plus more for kneading)
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
zest from 1 orange
1 teaspoon iodized salt
For Cross Pattern – 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup water
For Glaze – 1/4 cup apricot jam and 1/4 cup water
Soak raisins in a small bowl for 20 minutes or until cooled and plump. Drain. Add all ingredients, including drained raisins into a large mixing bowl. Stir until combined. The dough will be sticky. Dust work surface with additional flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on the floured surface for 10 minutes. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover. Set it in a slightly warm, draft-free area for one hour. The dough should be puffy. Removed the dough from the bowl and shape into a slight log shape. Divide the log into 8. Then cut each 8 into 2 making 16 pieces of dough. Roll each piece into a bun shape by leaving it on the work surface and rolling it in the palm of your hand until it is round. Place the rounds onto a baking sheet that has been lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Place the buns in a draft-free place and let them rise for 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and water to make the piping paste. The mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape, but thin enough that you can pipe. Place the mixture into a resealable plastic bag and cut off a small amount of the corner. (or you can use a piping bag). Pipe a cross shape on the top of each bun.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Let the buns rise for 15 more minutes or until they have nearly doubled in size from when they were formed. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. While the buns are baking, melt the apricot jam and water either by using a small pan on your stove or placing it in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove the rolls from the oven when they are done baking and brush with the apricot glaze.
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