A Provincial Easter
With a homebound Easter on the horizon, we thought it would be fun to add a touch of wanderlust to one of our family traditions- homemade Hot Cross Buns! Whether you usually like them traditional, chocolatey, with extra peel or fruitless- this tea infused recipe adds a little French flair with some strongly brewed Provence.
Hot Cross Buns
- 2/3 cup water
- 3-4 tsp Provence (depending how strong you want the flavour)
- 1 packet of dried yeast
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon mixed spice
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 orange, zested
- 1/2 cup raisins
For the "cross" topping:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup water
- Milk, for glazing
- Oil, for greasing
Lavender jam or golden syrup, for glazing
Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and steep Provence in the water for 15 minutes. Remove the tea leaves, squeezing as much liquid as possible out of them and discard. Let the tea cool until it is lukewarm.
In a small bowl, stir together the brewed tea, yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of the flour. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Heat the butter and milk together in a small saucepan over a low heat until the butter has just melted; remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Whisk in the egg.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the remaining flour, salt, mixed spice, lemon zest, orange zest and currants. Pour the tea mixture and the milk mixture over top. Stir together until there are only a few floury patches remaining. Tip the contents of the dough out onto a work surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
Clean the large mixing bowl and grease with some oil. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Divide the risen dough evenly into 12 pieces and roll them into balls. Place onto a parchment-lined baking tray spaced a few inches apart. Slash a cross into the top of each bun using a sharp knife or razor. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise for 30 minutes until doubled in size.
While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 180°C.
Make the "cross" topping by stirring together the flour and enough water to make a loose paste. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small, plain tip (or a sandwich bag with the tip of one of the corners cut off).
Brush the risen buns all over with a little milk then pipe the cross mixture into the cross-shaped cuts.