Cook’s Corner

Traditional hot cross buns full of fruit and spice

 

Bread

Hot Cross Buns

1 cup milk

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 package (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast

1/2 cup sugar

3 1/2 to 4 cups flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/3 cup candied fruit and peel mix

1/2 cup golden raisins

To finish:

1 egg

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon milk or cream

In a small saucepan or in the microwave, heat the milk and butter just until the butter melts. Allow to cool to lukewarm in a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Whisk until yeast dissolves. Stir in sugar and allow to stand for 10 minutes, until foamy.

Measure 31/2 cups flour and the spices into mixer bowl and whisk to combine. With the mixer on low, slowly add the yeast mixture. Add the eggs and mix until dough is thoroughly combined. Add enough additional flour so the dough will easily form a ball and is no longer sticky.

Knead on a floured board (or use the dough hook on mixer if you have one) until the dough is smooth and shiny, about 5 minutes. Knead in the candied fruit and raisins. Form dough into a ball, butter well, set in a large bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch dough down and form into 12 equal balls. Place on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving room for them to double in size. Let rise for another hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the buns with a wash made by whisking the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Bake 15 to 17 minutes, until puffed and nicely browned. Place on a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.

Mix confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Place in a plastic sandwich bag with one corner snipped and pipe a cross on the top of each bun. Makes 12.


Bread

Hot Cross Buns

1 cup milk

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 package (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast

1/2 cup sugar

3 1/2 to 4 cups flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/3 cup candied fruit and peel mix

1/2 cup golden raisins

TO FINISH:

1 egg

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon milk or cream

In a small saucepan or in the microwave, heat the milk and butter just until the butter melts. Allow to cool to lukewarm in a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Whisk until yeast dissolves. Stir in sugar and allow to stand for 10 minutes, until foamy.

Measure 3 1/2 cups flour and the spices into mixer bowl and whisk to combine. With the mixer on low, slowly add the yeast mixture. Add the eggs and mix until dough is thoroughly combined. Add enough additional flour so the dough will easily form a ball and is no longer sticky.

Knead on a floured board (or use the dough hook on mixer if you have one) until the dough is smooth and shiny, about 5 minutes. Knead in the candied fruit and raisins. Form dough into a ball, butter well, set in a large bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch dough down and form into 12 equal balls. Place on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving room for them to double in size. Let rise for another hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the buns with a wash made by whisking the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Bake 15 to 17 minutes, until puffed and nicely browned. Place on a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.

Mix confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Place in a plastic sandwich bag with one corner snipped and pipe a cross on the top of each bun. Makes 12.

Per serving: 320 calories (28 percent from fat), 10 g fat (5.7 g saturated, 2.7 g monounsaturated), 69 mg cholesterol, 6.6 g protein, 51.7 g carbohydrates, 1.7 g fiber, 145 mg sodium.


Dessert

Mini Cheesecakes

Instead of graham crackers, you could use cookie crumbs or ground nuts for the crust. Feel free to substitute other seasonal fruit for the blueberries. Or spread the cooled cheesecakes with strawberry jam and garnish with fresh strawberry halves and mint sprigs.

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons sugar plus 3/4 cup, divided

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

1 cup whipping cream

2 cups blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix graham crumbs with 2 tablespoons sugar and butter. Press onto bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin pan cups.

Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crusts.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until centers are almost set. Set aside on a rack to cool completely. Refrigerate 2 hours. Beat whipping cream with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form; spread onto cheesecakes. Top with blueberries and zest. Makes 18 servings.

Per serving: 273 calories (68 percent from fat), 21 g fat (11.8 g saturated, 5.5 g monounsaturated), 96 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, .6 g fiber, 197 mg sodium.


LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com

Q. I was telling my granddaughter about hot cross buns and the ditty that goes “One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns.” She asked me, “Just what is a hot cross bun, anyway?” I hope you can give me a recipe. I’d love to make them with her.

JoAnn Phillips

I rarely encounter hot cross buns the way I remember them, great yeasty yellow buns, highly spiced and chock-full of candied fruits and raisins. They were a memorable part of the Easter season in my childhood.

The buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, and the symbolism of the cross is obvious. The bread may represent communion, according to the BBC website, and the spices may symbolize the ones used in Jesus’ entombment. The Oxford English Dictionary’s first reference to hot cross buns is from 1733, the website reports, in the form of the song you sang for your granddaughter.

The buns I encounter nowadays at groceries or bakeries tend to be more like a raisin bun, with a cross painted on top and just a wisp of cinnamon. If you don’t like candied fruit, you can certainly use dried fruits instead. You may also want to cut back on the spices — or just stick to cinnamon if you’re not fond of the flavor of ground cloves. But the recipe here is traditional.

Easter dessert

I was quite taken by the easy recipe here for making individual cheesecakes for spring celebrations from the Kraft kitchens. You can make such a pretty presentation without a lot of effort, perfect for Easter brunch, bridal showers or graduation parties. Chef Carrie Conway offers these tips to be sure your cheesecakes bake the way they should:

• Set out ingredients about 10 minutes before using so you can work with them at room temperature.

• Allow your oven to heat while preparing your filling.

• Do not over-beat. Over-stirring can add too much air to the batter, which can cause the cheesecakes to crack. Beat in eggs, one at time, on low speed until just blended.

• Don’t peek! Opening the oven door while cheesecake is baking causes drafts that may lead to cracking.

Another way to prevent cracking is to immediately run a knife around the edge of the finished cheesecake to loosen it from the sides of the pan.

Write to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132. Personal replies are not possible.

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