The Hubby and I wanted to do something together in the kitchen. We’ve always loved M&S’ Bramley Apple hot cross buns and we’ve searched for quite some time for the right recipe. Until we found Paul Hollywood’s Hot Cross Buns.
Of course we’ve adapted it ever so slightly not only to suit our tastes, but also what I had available in the cupboard and didn’t want it to go to waste.
Yes, it took teamwork and communication and a lot of waiting around, but the end result is just so much better and way more satisfying than store-bought buns. You won’t regret it!
The first thing we did was to warm the milk and slowly melt the butter in the warm milk. We then set it aside to cool whilst we measured out the rest of the ingredients, beat the eggs and dice the apple.
We sifted the flour along with the salt into a large mixing bowl. We then scattered over the sugar and yeast (mixing the yeast with the salt will kill it and the buns won’t rise), before we made a well in the middle.
The cooled butter/milk mix got poured in very slowly into the well as the Hubby started to mix the flour with the liquid by hand. We then poured in the beaten eggs into the dough and continued to mix by hand until combined.
We lightly dusted a clean surface with extra flour before the Hubby tipped the dough out and started to knead it. It went from really sticky (not soggy) to really nice and smooth and soft.
He put it back into a lightly oiled bowl and I have covered it with my trusty shower cap. (Noooo, I’ve never used it as an actual shower cap! I do find it extremely handy to use the disposable hotel shower caps when I prove my dough – it allows for expansion and it is a perfect fit…) We’ve left it on the kitchen counter to prove; it took about 2 hours to double in size.
Once it reached about double the volume, we tipped in the fruit, mixed peel, zest and cinnamon. The hubby then tried his hand a second time at kneading as he incorporated the ingredients into the dough. We then left it once again (clean bowl, shower cap on) to prove for another hour.
Next we divided the dough into about 12 even sized buns and placed them on a lined tray. We left them a final time to rise, but this time we we slightly impatient and only left it for 1/2 an hour. We couldn’t wait to pipe the crosses onto the buns! Pre-heat the oven here to 220 degrees Celsius.
We mixed the plain flour with the water and poured the dough into a zip lock bag. Bad idea! I should’ve used a piping bag and a nozzle, but they were packed away
and I couldn’t be bothered… As I said, bad idea. The bag split! It became more and more messy as we went along and the poor little buns really started to look very homemade!
Finally we took them to the oven. For 20 minutes. As they were baking, we melted the apricot jam in a small saucepan on the hob with a tiny bit of water just to loosen it up.
We then brushed the warm jam over the top of the hot buns just as they got out of the oven. They were left to cool before we slathered them with butter and guzzled them up with a well-deserved cup of coffee. (Yes, we gave some to the neighbours also!)