Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx

Monday, 2 April 2007

You can't beat a good hot cross bun and if you have a spare few hours this weekend perhaps you might like to make some as homemade are far nicer than shop bought ones. Hot Cross Buns are really about personal choice. Although I have set out my recipe for them below, it is completely adaptable. For example if you don't like peel or nutmeg, just leave them out. If you like apple, then put a handful of grated apple in at the second proving stage. If you don't like the idea of rosewater or don't have any, just substitute water for the glaze...so many choices, the possibilities are endless. You could even add chocolate chips in place of the fruit for a spiced chocolate hot cross bun....now there's an idea!

Rosewater glazed hot cross buns
1 lb strong plain bread flour
2oz caster sugar
7g sachet of dried yeast
150ml warm milk
60ml warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
6oz mixed dried fruit (any combination you like - I used sultanas, raisins, candied peel and cherries)
2oz melted butter, cooled
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp flour
50grams caster sugar
50ml rose water

In a cup dissolve the yeast in 2 tbsp of the warm milk and 1 tsp sugar and leave for 10 minutes in a warm place until it is foamy. In the meantime, sift 4oz of the flour with 1 tsp sugar in a bowl. When the yeast mixture is foamy, pour it into the flour with the remaining warm milk and the water, and leave to stand in a warm place for a further 30 minutes until the mixture is very frothy (the whole mixture should be a fairly solid foam). Whilst you are waiting for this mixture to be ready, sift the remaining flour, sugar, spices, salt and mixed fruit in a bowl. When the yeast mixture is ready pour into the flour mixture with the egg and butter and kneed until the dough is light and elastic for approximately 10 minutes (less if you have a dough hook attachment on your food processor). Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a damp teacloth. Leave in a warm place until doubled in size - approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Knock the dough back again by rekneeding it for a further five minutes. Shape into small balls, approximately 3 inches (or smaller if you want more buns), and place slightly apart on a greased baking tray. Cover the buns with greased cling film and leave for a further 30 minutes until the buns have doubled in size. In the meantime, mix the 3 tbsp of plain flour with a small amount of water to make a runny paste that can be piped for the crosses. You can pipe this using an icing bag, but I prefer to use a plastic sandwich bag, pushing the mixture into one corner. When the buns have doubled in size, snip a small corner away from the plastic bag and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake in a hot oven (220oC/Gas Mark 7/Aga Roasting oven bottom shelf) for 20/25 minutes until the buns are golden. Whilst the buns are cooking, heat the sugar and rose water to prepare the glaze until the sugar has all dissolved and the glaze is syrupy. Remove the hot cross buns from the oven and place on a cooking rack. Brush the tops with the rose water glaze using a pastry brush (I usually do two coats allowing the first to set slightly before applying the second) and leave to cool (or eat straight away!)


Anonymous said...

Hi Hannah,
These look yummy. Can we have some when i visit next saturday.
Gareth xxxxxxx

David Hall said...

Hi Hannah

God this dial up is painful! Still in the midst of moving and no broadband for a couple of weeks means I can't surf other Blogs.

Anyway, just got on here to see you have been busy. I do a chocolate and orange hot cross bun, choc chips froma broken up bar of Mayo Gold, which smells as good as it tastes. Can't wait for this weekend to devour a load of them.

hope life is good
David x

Alison said...

Hi Hannah,
Don't know if I am adventurous enough for the rosewater but the choc chip idea sounds great for the Els and To. Will try some tomorrow. Thanks
Alison x

Erica (from the Netherlands) said...

Dear Hannah, thank you SO much for the recipe! I will definitely be making some!!

Thank you again, Erica x

fingleur said...

Thanks for the recipies Hannah, I've been meaning to thank you for ages after enjoying watching you on the telly.

Now, where's me spice box gone? Hot Cross buns here I come. Happy Easter.


Anonymous said...

Thankyou Hannah, your hot cross buns are great :)


Ariella said...

You write very well.