Easter Hot Cross Bunnies

Hot Cross Bunnies

This is based on the River Cottage Handbook No. 3 Bread recipe for hot cross buns. A gorgeous book full of workable recipes – much better in my opinion than the ‘celebrity’ bread books that are out at the moment, even though this one’s not that old either. If you want a good bread book, this would be a smart purchase.

Notes

The recipe is lovely, although for me it doesn’t have enough spice/cinnamon. The original calls for just 1 teaspoon of mixed spice – I’ve doubled the flavouring here by also adding 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Makes 12 bunnies.

Equipment

  • Stand mixer and/or large bowl
  • Baking sheet
  • Pastry brush
  • Scissors
  • Piping bag
  • Two small bowls

Ingredients – buns

  • Strong white flour – 250g
  • Plain white flour – 250g
  • Tepid water – 125ml
  • Tepid milk – 125ml
  • Powdered yeast – 5g
  • Salt – 10g
  • Caster sugar (I used golden) – 50g
  • Egg, medium free range – 1
  • Sultanas (or raisins or currants or a mix – or you can substitute diced glace cherries or even choc chips) – 100g
  • Orange zest – zest of 1/2 orange
  • Mixed spice – 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon – 1 tsp
  • A few spare sultanas (or other fruit or choc chips) for eyes

Ingredients – crosses

  • Plain flour – about 2 tablespoons
  • Enough water to make a paste with the flour

Ingredients – glaze

  • Marmalade or apricot jam – about 1 tablespoon
  • Water – about 1 tablespoon

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and either mix by hand (this will be messy – it’s like making a brioche! Stick with it though and don’t add more flour – it will come together eventually) or with a dough hook in a machine (much easier).
  2. Mix for about 10 minutes until the dough goes silky smooth.
  3. Cover and leave to rise until doubled in size.
  4. Cut into twelve equal parts and shape each into a pear shape (the pointier end will be the nose).
  5. Space them apart – you don’t really want batch buns (ie where they touch), although if you’re clever you can face two bunnies away from each other and just have their bottoms touching – I found this looked a bit like fluffy tails when the pulled apart. You don’t want the faces touching).
  6. Cover and leave to rise again – about half an hour should do it.
  7. Put the oven on to 200C.
  8. Make up the cross paste by thoroughly mixing the flour in with enough water (add little by little) to form a thick paste (about the thickness of cream cheese.
  9. Pop the paste into a piping bag, ready for use.
  10. Once risen again to about double the size you can shape the ears:
  11. Using a pair of scissors cut two snips towards the pointy end of each bun. You’re aiming to make a long ‘V’ on either side of the head to act as ears.
    Make ears by snipping the
    dough with scissors
  12. Pipe the crosses onto each bun.
  13. Put into the oven and bake for 18 – 20 minutes until dark golden.
  14. Leave to cool a bit then mix up the glaze by heating the jam or marmalade and mixing with the water (quick and easy in a microwave but can be in a saucepan over a hob). If you have jam or marmalade with shred or bits, then it’s best to strain it.
  15. Using a pastry brush paint the glaze all over.
  16. When the bunnies are cooled a little, use some of the leftover sultanas (or whatever you used) and a little of the jam or marmalade and stick a couple of eyes onto each bunny.
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