Tuesday, April 26, 2011

One a penny, two a penny....

   Hot cross buns. Hard to find in France so I decided to have a bash at making a batch. Besides, on a chilly, wet Saturday afternoon, I liked the idea of filling the house with warm, spicy, yeasty smells.
   As with any recipe these days, all you need to do is Google the name and take your pick. This time, they were all much of a muchness. I didn't have currants or chopped peel around but I reckoned raisins would do the job and I'd add a little more cinnamon and nutmeg to compensate for the lack of allspice.
   I ended up with one of Delia Smith's recipes because, while I'm not a huge fan of her sometimes nanny-ish approach, you want absolute persnickety precision in measurements and technique with things like hot cross buns.
   Baking has never been my forte and it's years since I've opened a package of yeast, mixed it with "hand-hot" milk and watched it turn all foamy. From then on, I had huge fun, balancing the cassole full of dough near the radiator and watching it well up into a taut little dome, punching it down and shaping it into tidy buns. While the yeastie beasties were swelling up for the second time, I made a dough of flour and water, rolled it out, cut it thinly and--when the buns were ready to go in the oven--strapped them with little dough crosses.
   Here's what we ended up with... one missing because, next to making hot cross buns on a grey afternoon, there's nothing better than eating one, warm, butter-spread and straight out of the oven.

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