Nothing marks the start of the Easter season like the heavenly smell of freshly baked hot cross buns. Spending Easter in Korea, it’s sometimes hard to get into the seasonal spirit as the traditions we know and love from back home just aren’t replicated here in Korea. While a chocolate egg may be hard but not impossible to come by, hot cross buns can be easily made if you have the right recipe.
The Fat Boyfriend first had a crack at these on Sunday using Paul Hollywood’s recipe, but they turned out to be a bit of an epic fail as the grated apple made the dough too wet.Though I have to say they did taste alright once they were toasted and topped with copious amounts of butter. I had a go this week using a recipe from Jo Cooks and was far more successful. I changed things up a little bit and I think it paid off as my hot cross buns were amazing!
I omitted the more traditional flour and water cross as I didn’t really like it on the ones TFB made and instead went for a cream cheese frosting which I think was a change for the better. Although if you want to stick with the traditional it’s pretty easy to do instead. You will also need to make your mixed peel as I have never managed to find it here, it’s fairly simple to make all you need is orange peel sugar and water. I followed this recipe which stretched the process out over a few days but you could probably skip the drying out stages if you are pinched for time.
1.In a saucepan warm the milk until it’s just about to start to boil then add the butter and turn off the heat. Allow the milk to cool until it’s luke-warm and the butter has melted.
2. In a large bowl add the 4 1/2 cups of flour, salt, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until combined.
3. When the milk and butter has come down to the correct temperature, make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the eggs. Then slowly add the warm milk mixture to the bowl, stirring until the mixture has combined. Mine was still quite wet at this point so I added an extra half a cup of flour. It was still quite sticky but that’s okay.
4. Using a dough hook attachment on a mixer, mix on high for 5 minutes (if you don’t have a hand mixer then get ready to use some elbow grease). The dough should be quite soft and elastic. You will know when it’s done when it doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.
5. Oil a large bowl, then pop the dough in the bowl,and cover with a damp tea towel. Let the dough rise in a warm space for about an hour to an hour and a half until doubled in size.
6. After the first rise add all the raisins, mixed peel, and orange zest and work the dough for a minute or so to make sure they have distributed evenly. Then pop the damp towel back over the bowl and leave to rise for another hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. I used a roasting pan that’s roughly 16 x 12 inches. Then take your dough and split into even pieces, I made 12 large buns with mine, but you could easily make 16 medium sized ones. Once you have portioned the dough roll them into balls and pop them onto the baking paper leaving enough space for them to rise. They may be a bit sticky still but you should be able to get a decent enough shape. allow to rise again uncovered for another 30 minutes.
8. Your buns should have risen well and be double the size . They may be touching each other at this point but that’s fine. Bake them in the oven for about 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. Mine were larger so I gave them just a few extra minutes at the end and I also turned them around in the oven about half way through the process to make sure they had an even bake.
9. While the buns are cooling melt the apricot jam in a saucepan, then brush over the tops of the buns to give them that lovely shine.
10. To make the frosting take the softened butter and cream cheese and mix together along with the vanilla extract. When everything has combined add the icing sugar and mix. If the frosting isn’t sweet enough add a little more icing sugar, if it’s too thick then add a tiny bit of milk until you have a nice piping consistency.
11. Allow the buns to cool completely before piping the crosses otherwise the frosting may melt. Allow the icing to set for about about a minute before immediately shoving one in your gob. Then invite your friends over and allow them to revel in the joy of your Easter baking!