Easter Hat Parade & Hot Cross Buns
On the last week of the school term, my daughter’s school had an Easter bonnet parade. I totally jumped to conclusions and thought parents would help make a bonnet at home for the kids to bring to school for the parade. As it turns out, the children were making their ‘bonnets’ in class and I have to be completely honest and tell you that I was a tad disappointed. The reason why is that in pre-school I won the Easter bonnet parade and it’s a very vivid memory for me. For one hour on a warm Autumn afternoon in 1981 I was the centre of attention for an hour or so. This was a big deal for the youngest of four children. My sister and brothers wanted to know me for more than five minutes, even if it was only so they could scam some of my chocolate egg prize from me.
There was some considerable help in the bonnet making process. My mother, one of the more cunning women around and simultaneously acknowledging she didn’t have a crafty bone her body, recruited two ladies in her school office to make the Easter bonnet. Marg Best, the enrolment secretary, did the bonnet and Joan, another secretary made the basket. Both were obviously dab hands with a needle and thread and without their help it’s very likely I would have ended up with a straw hat on which some cotton wool balls and mini Easter eggs would have been hastily glued on the morning of said parade.
Instead I had a proper bonnet with colour-coordinating egg-collecting basket (no one else had one of those). It didn’t stop there. Both ladies also made paper flowers which were pinned to the hem of my dress. I was an unsuspecting 4-year-old about to have Easter bonnet fame and glory foisted upon me and boy, did I enjoy it.
It’s Easter time already. For you, a hot cross bun recipe that, like my bonnet, is not a run-of-the-mill. This is a bun with all the added extras that make it the perfect hot cross bun.
Hot Cross Buns
adapted from Gourmet Traveller.
Makes about 15.
4tbs caster sugar
2tsp (14g) dried yeast
600g plain flour
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
100g candied orange peel (recipe below)
1 orange, finely grated rind of
90g unsalted butter, chopped
Candied Orange Peel
400ml boiling water, plus extra for blanching
50g plain flour
¼ cup water
50g caster sugar
¼ tsp mixed spice
¼ cup water
First, you will need to make the candied orange peel. Remove the skin with the pith from the oranges using a sharp knife. Place the peel in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Blanch for 1 minute. Rinse the peel and blanch with boiling water once more. Place the peel in a small saucepan with the 400ml boiling water and the sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the peel begins to look translucent. Drain the sugar liquid away and once cooled, chop coarsely.
In a small bowl, combine the sultanas and brandy and heat in microwave on high for 20 seconds to plump up the sultanas and set aside.
Dissolve the yeast and caster sugar in 2tbs tepid water in large mixing bowl and set aside.
Sift the flour and spices into a large mixing bowl and then add the sultanas, orange peel, orange rind and salt.
In a small saucepan, gently warm milk and butter over a low heat until the butter melts and the mixture is tepid. Add egg and yeast to milk mixture and whisk until combined.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, add the milk mixture and stir until just combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
Knock back the dough to let the air out and cut into 16 equal pieces. Knead each piece into a ball and place in a lightly greased 22cm square (or thereabouts) cake tin, cover with a damp tea towel and stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220°C. To make the crosses, combine the flour and water to form a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle or into a piece of baking paper rolled into the shape of a funnel with its narrow end snipped. Pipe lines down each row to form crosses. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 200°C and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until golden.
For the glaze, combine the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Brush glaze over hot buns. Allow to cool slightly before eating open with generous trowel of butter.Share this on: