Hot Cross Buns!

Hot Cross Buns! One a penny, Two a penny, Hot Cross Buns!Mother Goose

Yesterday morning, T went down to make coffee and I heard a wail from the kitchen Where are my hot cross buns?? Yikes!! He was right. Where were they?? …I almost forgot to make them!!

So I marched down the stairs to remedy the situation. And then I had a dilemma. Should I make raisin bread instead? Well, my question was answered pretty quickly by scanning my recipes. The two recipes are pretty similar. The only real difference is that the hot cross buns call for candied peel, allspice and nutmeg. We didn’t have any candied peel – and I wasn’t going to quickly make candied lemon peel from one of the lemons in the fridge. (Who do you think I am?? I know. I know… why can’t I be more like Julie from A Finger in Every Pie? She showed us how simple it is to candy orange slices in her post on Sunrise Caramel Shortbread. Maybe next year I’ll candy the peel…. )

So! I decided to make raisin bread and to make enough dough (with nutmeg and allspice added) for three loaves – to make two loaves and 4 buns. I had forgotten how silky this dough is! It was quite pleasing to knead and almost immediately stopped sticking to the board. I was so pleased with myself for thinking of an easy method for melting the butter – just put the cold butter into a pyrex measuring cup and pour in boiling water. As the butter melts, it cools the water down to ‘room temperature’. Everything continued to go swimmingly with the rising and forming of dough. (You know that there is going to be a “but” don’t you?)

Just as we were serving dinner (artichokes are relatively inexpensive right now!! I’ll get back to our dinner in another post…) I started preheating the oven. Which meant jumping up from the table for a second to slash crosses in the buns and put loaves and buns into the oven. And remember to set the timer. I figured that the buns would take half as long as the loaves to bake. Which would be perfect. I always turn bread around half way through baking it.

When the bell rang, the buns weren’t quite ready though. Another five minutes. I sat back down at the table to tuck in to that really wonderful dinner that T had prepared. The bell rang. Out came the buns – they looked perfect – on top – what, what, what?? The bottoms were black!! But, but, but – I had put them on parchment paper to stop that from happening. And a second wail rose from the kitchen. A more pathetic wail: What happened to my hotcross buns?

It’s those ancient cast aluminum pans of mine!! They are permanently black. I always line them with parchment paper because I can’t stand the idea of putting anything directly onto them. As a preventative measure, I pulled the bread out of the oven, removed the loaves from their pans and put them back in the oven to finish baking naked.

T had already jumped up from the table to examine the damage and calmly took out one of his sharp knives (a redundancy – those knives are always sharp) and started scraping the burned part off of the bottoms of the buns. And he was right. They could be rescued.

We returned to our spectacular dinner. I interrupted one more time to pull the perfectly baked loaves out of the oven. And then we happily finished dining, uninterrupted by anything but a few pauses to moan and say I love artichokes. Let’s have them every day!

Oh, yes, and how do the hot cross buns taste? I’ll let you know after breakfast!

Edit at noon: I’m pleased to report that even though there was no candied peel in them, the hot cross buns were fabulous and tasted just as hot cross buns should.

I wonder if silpat would have made the difference. Does silpat resting on an ancient pan stop that kind of bottom burning? Or should I have raised the rack to one level higher in the oven?

2 responses to “Hot Cross Buns!

  1. David

    Mmmmmm… hot cross buns! Quite definitely one of the greatest smells ever. I was feeling lazy so I threw the ingredients into a breadmaker to make a hot cross bun loaf. The problem is that one loaf is nowhere near enough. Next year I’ll be more organised. Probably.

  2. ejm Post author

    If you have the bread maker, why not make another loaf or two and pull the dough out of the machine before baking so you can have buns? (I don’t have a bread maker but isn’t it just a matter of throwing ingredients into a well and letting the machine do basically everything else?) Just curious, David, did you put candied peel into your bread?

    There is something so much more satisfying about warmed hot cross buns instead of toasted raisin bread. Hmmm, or is there? Toasted raisin bread is the bees knees. I might have to take one of those loaves of raisin bread out of the freezer….

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