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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hot Cross Buns - My Last Sugary Supper

It's the season of Lent and for some people it is traditionally a time of giving up certain things that you like - chocolate, alcohol, meat etc.  For me on the other hand, it was different this year.  I did not really give up anything for Lent.  Rather, I spent most of the time reading up on fructose free diets and the positive effects it has been having on many followers.  I came to a decision - since I was feeling the same way that the people who had cut out sugar in their diets had described, I guess it was not going to harm me to try something good for my body.  So after the chocolate fest that is Easter, is over I am doing away with sweet things.  It is pretty intense at first and if you are interested I will post some links at the bottom of this blog that you can peruse.
How does this tie into Hot Cross Buns?  Well only a couple of colleagues at work were aware of my plans to abandon sugar, and one of them - Miss A was most kind to treat me to some of the best rated Hot Cross Buns in Melbourne, as a send off for my taste buds.  So after a week of Baker D. Chirico and Sugardough Bakery's finest, I decided to make up a batch of my own to take in to work as a thank you to Miss A for feeding my sweet tooth's addiction this week.
In this recipe, as I try to do each time, I have changed the regular Hot Cross Bun to something on a different tangent.  After trying Baker D's (and voting it the best one yet), I was most inspired to do a really fruity but light bun - and instead of the usual mix of dried fruits and citrus peel, these contain sweet ginger and are glazed in pineapple syrup - just to be different.
Ingredients - makes 16 buns
For the buns
100g x Sultanas
100g x Currants
½ cup x Pineapple Juice (used a a soaking liquid)
100g x Sweet Uncrystalised Ginger (available in the baking aisle at the supermarket)
700g x Plain Flour, sifted
60g x Caster Sugar
2 tsp x Dried Yeast
1tsp x Allspice 
½ tsp x Ground Cinnamon
300ml x Milk
100g x Butter, cubed
1 x Egg, beaten
For the crosses
50g x Plain Flour
¼ cup x Water
For the hot glaze
¼ cup x Pineapple Juice (retained from soaking liquid)
50g x Caster Sugar
¼ tsp x Mixed Spice
Soak the sultanas and currants in the pineapple juice for about 30 minutes
Chop the sweet ginger into small pieces
In a large mixing bowl combine the sifted flour with the sugar, yeast and spices
Drain the soaking fruits, reserving a ¼ cup of juice for the glaze
Add the fruits and the ginger to flour mixture, stirring to distribute evenly
Heat the milk on a low temperature and add the butter to melt, the mixture should be luke warm
Whisk the beaten egg into the luke warm mixture and remove from heat
Make a well in the flour mixture and slowly pour in the liquid
Use a wooden spoon to bring the ingredients together
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes
Then form into a ball shape and place in a large greased bowl
Cover bowl with cling wrap and allow dough to prove in a warm place for 1 hour
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knock the air out of it
Divide into 16 balls weighing approximately 100 grams each
Place the balls, evenly spaced in a large cake tin
Cover the tin with a damp tea towel and allow balls of dough to prove in a warm place for 45 minutes
Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius
Prepare the mixture for the crosses by combining the flour and water with a fork until smooth
Place the mixture into a piping bag with a small nozzle attached
Carefully pipe vertical and horizontal lines on the risen buns to form crosses
Place the tin in the oven and bake for 10 minutes on 220 degrees
Then turn heat down to 200 degrees and bake for a further 10 minutes
Prepare the glaze by combining the sugar, mixed spice and reserved pineapple juice in a saucepan on low heat
Stir continuously to ensure the sugar dissolves completely
Apply the glaze with a pastry brush, evenly on the buns as they come fresh out of the oven
When cooled slightly, remove from the cake tin and allow buns to cool further on a rack
Serve the Hot Cross Buns sliced in half, toasted and with a generous slather of butter

"Given the price that the bakeries around Melbourne charge for Hot Cross Buns, I reckon I could make a killing with these ginger and pineapple glazed numbers.  I will miss sugar as I enter into the "life less sweeter" - but it is for a greater good - besides, I can still cook non sugary things and blog about it.  Well, I am going to enjoy my last sugary supper and I hope these buns go down well tomorrow at work.  Happy Easter! Keep reading...and cooking."    
And here as promised are some sites worth a read if you are looking into a fructose free dietSarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar blogDavid Gilespie - Author of Sweet Poison - Raisin Hell Blog
Bye Bye Sugar!!!


Elissa said...

If you're not a fan of ginger - avoid. Same goes if you're a hot cross bun purist. But for the rest of us these hot cross buns are a must try! In a pre-Easter office 'taste-off' against two bakery bought versions these were a clear favourite. More please!

Adrienne said...

Yum, these beat out Baker D Chirico and Filou's buns by a mile. Great work Neil!!

Susan said...

The ginger and hint of pineapple added an exotic, tropical touch to these old faves... a definite winner!

ngizee said...

Thanks for the lovely comments ladies, I will be sure to have you all on my next taste testing panel. These buns sure did go down a treat and will definitely become my Easter time staple. Amidst the comments heard at the tea room tasting regarding grabbing my smoking hot buns, the best one I recall was from a colleague who said "What is it about you chefs? You're always surrounded by beautiful food.....and beautiful women" - To which I replied "It's tough - I know!" LOL