Hot Cross Buns

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This is a late entry, pretty much usual in my case I guess. While the whole world, or whoever I'd subscribed to was churning out Easter recipes, before Easter, I'm one of those unique ones, who post a recipe after the occasion!!! yay!!! let's celebrate laziness. Or well, let's be better prepared for next Easter.

We usually have Hot Cross Buns on Maundy Thursday as part of our breaking the bread ritual. As Malayalees, we're supposed to make 'Indariyappam' and have it with 'Paal'. I'll explain those terms at some later point. But let's just get on with the fact that Mum always made the Paal (cardamom spiced coconut milk sweetened with jaggery, there I explained it right there) and we got the Hot Cross Buns from the bakery near our church. Most years, us laggards would reach too late to get the real big Hot Cross Buns, and we'd have to settle for a smaller one just so to continue with the ritual.

We'd have a brief Bible reading by the head of the family, which obviously is my Dad, then we'd have the symbolic representation of the Bread as the Body of Christ and the Paal (mentioned above) as the Blood of Christ. Daddy would cut the Bread, dip it into the Paal and give it out to each of us. And thus, Maundy Thursday was celebrated at home.

These days, everyone is very fussed about being authentic and most Malayalee Christians make Indariyappam at home, which is the traditional bread for Passover. But hey, it's always nice to have an alternate option which is slightly sweeter, spiced with cinnamon & raisins in a nice yeasted bun. So I make Hot Cross Buns. Just so I can dip it into my cup of sticky sweet Paal and enjoy.

I've shamelessly taken a riff off Pioneer Woman's Hot Cross Buns. I used to follow her quite a bit, a while ago, then I found that I'd gotten over her, like I'd gotten over most blogs, like you've probably gotten over Plattered. I'm always hunting for new & interesting, but when almost everything is new, you just want to take a step back and say, let's go back to the old stuff. Like the old stuff you know, when things were plain and simple and you didn't want to add that extra zest or rum soaked dried fruits in Hot Cross Buns. There is comfort in the familiar, the unexotic, the everyday food, the repetition, Sorry, I'm ranting. But the truth is, I don't follow too many blogs anymore, unless they're East Asian and written in a language I can comprehend. David Lebovitz is always exempt from any such heresy on my part. His blog, I'll always love.

Anyway, here's the recipe for Hot Cross Buns, straight from Pioneer Woman's blog. I've made very few changes to this recipe - halving the recipe, a cinnamon butter wash after baking, just very very slight alterations. Like she says, it's her Cinnamon rolls recipe, the same I use as well.


for the buns

1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar
11/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup additional flour
1/4 tsp (heaping) baking powder
1/4 tsp (scant) baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 cup raisins
1 tbsp egg white
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp melted butter

for the glaze
3 tbsp egg white
3 tbsp icing sugar + extra to thicken if required.



1. Gently heat oil, milk & sugar in a saucepan till warm, but not boiling and the sugar has melted.
2. Let it rest for half an hour or bring it to lukewarm temperature.
3. Add yeast to the milk mixture and 2 cups of flour. Stir. Cover and rest the sticky mixture for 1 hour.
4. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt & 1/4 cup flour and mix. Stir till combined
5. Pulse 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon powder and other spices and keep ready.
6. Tip dough onto a lightly floured surface. If the dough is still sticky, add the rest of the 1/4 cup flour bit by bit and incorporate till its not so sticky.
7. Roll out the dough/stretch it by hand, add 1/3 the cinnamon sugar & 1/2 the raisins and fold the dough onto itself.
8. Repeat step 7 and fold till the sugar & raisins are spread evenly. (You'll have leftover sugar)
9. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts and with floured hands roll it into a ball.
10. Stretch the tops and slightly fold in the dough at the bottom to get a smooth top.
11. Place on a slightly greased baking tray. Cover with a towel and allow it to rise in a warm place for 30 mins.
12. Make an egg wash with the egg white & milk. Gently brush the risen rolls with the egg wash
13. Preheat the oven to 200C. Bake for 20 mins or till the tops are nice and golden.
14. Mix melted butter and remaining sugar and brush on top of the rolls evenly till it get nice cinnamony glaze. Allow the rolls to cool

15. Mix egg white and icing sugar together till its a thick pipe-able consistency.
16. Pour into a piping bag/ziploc bag and snip the corner and pipe a cross on top of each bun.

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