Dynamite buns that are worth the effort.  This is the Holy Grail of Hot Cross Buns

 

These are not for the faint at heart as you need multiple prep elements before baking:

Starter:  Also known as sourdough starter, it is sour and oh so important to these buns.  How do you make it?  Flour, water and a little bit of patience.  I have very few regrets in life, but one of them is the disappearance of my BEATRIX starter.  I made the batch with old concord grapes and years later it still smelled like concord grapes!  Hotel life and not keeping a watchful eye on BEATRIX lead to one day...you get the picture.  I think that Nancy Silverton breaks down making a bread starter the best in her book Breads from La Brea Bakery.  The instructions for her 14 day starter can be found here.

Candied Orange Peel: I like to make my own.  I also use the orange syrup as part of a glaze for the buns so it helpful to make you own as store bought varieties are not stored in syrup. Candied peel keeps and is simpler to make than you realize so do not be afraid!

Treacle Tuile:  This is a non-traditional cross for the buns, but in keeping with this very personal recipe, I encourage you to make it all the way on a rainy day!  Treacle refers to the inclusion of Lyle's Golden Syrup into the tuile batter.  Lyle's comes in a green can and can be found in the baking aisle at Wholefoods. You can also use this batter to make crispy cookies or your own fortune cookies! Tuile batter keeps in the fridge for approximately a week if you want to make a batch and pull some out to make some funky stencil cookies with the kids.

Fat Sultanas and Fat Currants:  Basically fat black raisins and fat mini raisins (currants).  Both dried fruits are fattened in different tea infusions.  I know! More work.  Definitely worth the effort.

Fresh Yeast:  This recipe was created when I constantly had access to fresh yeast.  Chef friendly markets carry fresh yeast.  Notes on yeast conversions here.

 

Hot Cross Buns--Beatrix

 

Sponge:

200 grams Whole Miilk, cold.

30 grams  Granulated Sugar

50 grams Fresh Yeast(make sure it is alive and not old folks)

100 grams Beatrix starter (or your starter)

45 grams Bread Flour.

1. Whisk above ingredients and allow sponge to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

 

Dough:

500 grams Bread Flour

60 grams Unsalted Butter, softened (room temperature)

1 Whole Egg

15 grams Kosher Salt

5 grams Allspice, ground.

3 grams Cinnamon, ground.

1. Add above ingredients to sponge.  In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix on speed two until the dough comes together. Scrape down sides.

2. Increase to speed three and develop the dough for approximately ten minutes.  This is where you are developing the gluten of the dough.  The dough may seem "dry" at this point but it is not!

Fruit:

225 grams Fat Sultans, squeezed of their liquid.

200 grams Sultana Raisins (not plumped)

100 grams Fat Currants, squeezed of their liquid.

100 grams Currants (not plumped)

50 grams Candied Orange Peel, drained of syrup.

1.  Add above ingredients to developed dough.  Mix (knead) on speed three for five minutes.  The dough will separate and then come back together.

2.  Allow dough to sit at room temperature  for 30 minutes. Punch down dough (release gas from the eating yeast) and place in fridge for 4 hours.

Shaping:

1. Scale dough into 4.25 ounces portions.  Roll  into balls with a “belly button” at the bottom.  Canadian demo on that here.

**Because of the large amount of fruit, these buns take their time proofing! 

2.  I proof these buns in a warm place brushed lightly with oil and covered lightly with plastic wrap for 4 hours.  Yes!  Sometimes 5!

 

To Bake:

2 Eggs, Beaten

Treacle Tuile in piping bag

Orange Peel Syrup

Pastry Brush

1. Preheat convection oven to 325 Fahrenheit  or 350 Fahrenheit in a still oven.  Bake until light golden (approximately 12-15 minutes in the convection).

2.  Remove from oven.  Egg wash and cross with treacle tuile. This means pipe a cross on top!

3.  Return to oven until the tuile just cooks. This is approximately 4 minutes.

4. Brush buns with orange glaze two times. *Brush all of the buns once then repeat a second time.

The best way to serve these buns?

1 Hot Cross Bun

1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened

1/4 tsp Maldon Sea Salt.

1. Heat a griddle and slice bun in half.

2. Spread butter evenly on each side and place butter side down on griddle. 

3. Heat until toasted.

4. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

 

Treacle Tuile

450 grams Confectioner's Sugar, sifted

450 grams Unsalted Butter, softened

225 grams Egg Whites

667 grams All Purpose Flour

225 grams Lyle's Golden Syrup

1.  Paddle butter with golden syrup and confectioner's sugar on low speed until homogenous.

2.   Add whites two at a time scraping down.

3.  Paddle in flour, scraping down.

*Do not whip air into this batter! Slow and steady

 

Fat Sultans

4 liters Water

2 heaping Tablespoons, Early Grey Tea

2 Cinnamon Sticks

5 Allspice Berries

90 grams Black Treacle or Blackstrap Mollasses

300 grams Granulated Sugar

225 grams Orange Juice

120 grams Dark Rum (not spiced rum) * Rum tip thank you Sherry Yard!

4 liters (by volume) Sultana Raisins (Black Raisins)

1.  Bring above ingredients (not raisins) to a boil.  Allow to infuse for 10 mintes.

2.  Strain over sultana raisins. Cool over ice bath

3. Store in fridge.

 

Fat Currants

4 Liters Water

4 heaping Tablespoons Chamomile and Lavender Tea

300 grams Granulaed Sugar

60 grams Lemon Juice

pinch salt

4 Liters (by volume) Dried Currants

1.  Bring above ingredients to a boil.

2. Allow to infuse for ten minutes.

3. Strain over currants.  Cool over ice bath.

4. Store in fridge

 

Candied Orange

10 oranges, peel removed with vegetable peeler and chiffonade

Fresh Water

500 grams Water

750 grams Granulated Sugar

60 grams Orange Juice

pinch salt

 

1. Soak the orange peel in water for two days, changing the water twice a day.

2.  In fresh 500 grams water, simmer the orange peel until just tender with lid on. 5 minutes.

3.  When the peel is tender add 750 grams Sugar. Stir to dissolve.

4.  Allow the peel to sit in hot sugar liquid  in an ice bath to cool. Stir in fresh orange juice and salt and place in fridge overnight.