The fragrant aroma of hot cross buns baking in your kitchen will surely stir memories of years gone by. Someone will recall their mother or grandmother having made these rolls every Easter. Consider starting your own traditions and memories this Easter season, by making these wonderful buns!
1 cup warm milk (105°--115°F.)
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks cold,unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup dried currants
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 lb. powdered sugar
Dash of Salt
In a small bowl stir together milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let mixture stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.
Into a large bowl sift together flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cut butter into bits and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Lightly beat 1 whole egg with egg yolk. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in yeast and egg mixtures, currants, and zests. Stir mixture until a dough is formed. Transfer dough to a floured surface and with floured hands knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Butter 2 large baking sheets, or (as I prefer) line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a floured surface with floured hands knead dough briefly and form into two 12-inch-long logs. Cut each log crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Let buns rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Using kitchen shears, or scissors, snip a cross in the center of each roll. This is where you'll add the icing after the buns are baked.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
While buns are rising, lightly beat remaining egg with superfine sugar to make an egg glaze. Brush buns with egg glaze and sprinkle with the superfine sugar. Bake buns in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 12-15 minutes.
Transfer buns to a rack to cool slightly. Buns may be made 1 week ahead and frozen, wrapped in foil and put in a sealable plastic bag. Thaw buns and reheat before serving. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.
To make the icing: using a mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, and then add the powdered sugar. Add enough milk to make a thick icing. Flavor with a good quality vanilla, and a dash of salt.
Superfine sugar can be made by using a food processer, and pulsing the sugar until very fine. It works!
Now, for the busy cooks! Just make the dough, as directed in the recipe, place it in the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set it in the refrigerator overnight to rise. When ready to bake, be sure to let the dough come to room temperature, before continuing the next steps of the recipe.
Note:Zante currants are available at Schnucks.
Source:Adaptation of a recipe from Gourmet Magazine ~ April 1999