Friday, 2 April 2010

A very good Friday.

Right now I am in bed with a cup of tea and breakfast. Yes, I know that it's already past eleven, but I make no excuses for my laziness, in fact this weekend week I will be embracing it to it's maximum potential. 

It seems incredibly generous that society has felt it only right and proper to bestow on me two extra days of holiday this weekend, and it seems even more gracious that work should operate "closure days" on the Thursday and Tuesday that bookend this already wonderful four day weekend, turning four, into six, relaxation days. 

As a thank you, I am going to share my breakfast with you. More hot cross buns! Having admitted in my last post about them that I really wish I made them more, I wondered what exactly was stopping me? This ponderance, coupled with the spotting of this recipe, forced my hand, and in the last week I have made them twice more, and I think I am ready to admit that this new version trumps the old one, hands down.

What was the clincher? I could say it was the addition of the subtle blend of spices, rather than the simple mixed spice, and yes this is definitely a factor. But really, since I am honestly confessing to my laziness I might as well admit that it was the use of tea and stout. 

The addition of a teapot in this household at Christmas has almost turned me from a staunch coffee drinker to a tea fanatic, and I have begun to truly realise that a good cup of tea is not simply a good cup of tea, but a Good cup. And that tea is without doubt the most wonderful comforter, restorer and general hot drink equivalent of a duvet. 

And a can of Guinness is often the same! 

So this week, I have been mostly making and eating these. I think you should too. Take some of that lazy time this long weekend and reward yourself. It's two-fold too as you're not only blessed with the most delicious afternoon tea or breakfast, but your whole house will smell amazing! 

Very Good Friday Buns - Adapted from Dan Lepard.

Having made these twice now I have come to the conclusion that I personally like a bit less fruit than Lepard, and that you can easily add a bit of wholemeal flour with no ill effect, in fact I preferred the slightly nuttier flavour and more equal quantities of peel and raisins. I mention this by way of saying that this is a pretty adaptable recipe, so feel free to tweak as is your want. 

Be warned your really need to start this the day before you bake, as the fruit is soaked overnight...

Makes 10-12 depending on how accurate your weighing is (mine, not so much!)

162ml Stout (Guinness is my poison)
3/4 tsp each of ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg
3/4 tsp instant yeast
163g wholemeal bread flour
275g strong white flour
88g raisins
88g mixed peel (or other dried fruit if you prefer)
125ml hot black tea (make a pot and have a cup in the process!)
1 large egg, beaten then divided in half (or as close as you can manage)
25g melted butter
25g sugar (golden caster is best I think)
3/4 tsp salt

The night before put the peel and raisins in a small bowl with the tea. Stir and leave to soak. Then place the wholemeal flour, stout, yeast, and spices in a deep bowl (if you have a mixer you can place them in the mixer bowl). Combine and then leave, loosely covered, overnight.

The next day at add the melted butter and half the egg to the fruit mixture, stir and then mix into the stout starter. Then add the white flour, sugar and salt. Mix until it just comes together, then leave for ten minutes. Mix for ten seconds, then leave for ten minutes. Repeat. Then leave for an hour. 

After an hour turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Line a baking sheet with parchment, or silicone liner. Divide the dough into roughly 100g pieces (mine were 122 as I'm greedy) and form into balls, then lay, touching, on the baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 90 mins. 

Mix 1 tbsp of flour with 1 tbsp of water to form a paste. 

Preheat the oven to 200C. Mix the remaining egg with a dash of milk, and then gently brush this mixture over the risen buns. Then dab the past over the buns to form crosses (Yay, I remembered and bothered this time!) Bake for 20-25mins. Then allow to cool, if you can wait that long! 


  1. I made some buns yesterday (different recipe) and they tasted fine but were like bullets!

  2. Have just started making traditional hot cross buns (just proving now)though I substituted peel for chopped apple. Wish I'd seen this post yesterday. Oh well, next time! I'm not putting a cross on mine, so just hot buns, because I'm lazy as befits a holiday. Happy Easter!