Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter Hot Cross Buns and some memories to share

Ever since I remember I have always waited for the easter bunny to drop by at our school where Easter was celebrated with great fervour and devotion.It always started with Good Friday and the entire week that led  upto Good Friday was a week when we got to see movies depicting the life of Jesus Christ.Then we had a long weekend.The week after it was over we had a surplus of Easter goodies to enjoy.This time, I had been able to follow the festivities at my best buddy Priya's place.Since, I know her from my kindergarten days every year I have seen her mom make all kinds of Easter delicacies and Homemade wine.The whole process of making this wine is like composing a song ( look at the beautiful color of the wine she has pictured over a Piano which belongs to her daughter Tanya an avid Pianist).Now,Priya follows this tradition at her own home and she begins with grapes in earthen jars called Bharani a month before Easter and then she practises Lent for 4o days a practise which sees devotees turn vegetarian and shun alcohol..Since she belongs to Kerala they have a custom of making unleavened Bread called Pesaha Appam and a sweetened coconut and jaggery dipping called Paal.The unleavened bread is cut by the eldest male member of the house on Maundy Thursday after attending Church and over prayers.She sent me a few pictures of the homemade wine from black grapes and the bread.Since Easter symbolises new beginnings I hope it ushers in joy and peace in every home where Easter is celebrated.U.A.E, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan Syria have also taken on the Easter joy.Yesterday I was told by an Egyptain doctor who is a muslim that back home it is celebrated by both communities in a harmonious manner.



                         
                                            



Easter is also synonymous with hot cross buns the one we  have often heard as a nursery rhyme.Hot cross buns were hung by bakers in front of their doors a practise that they felt ensured the rising of the dough for the whole next year.It is also said that when they gift these buns to their friends and loved ones they will remain thick friends for life.To me they are mouthfuls of delicious goodness - warm, sweet and almost comforting with a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.I had made some at my home and instead of glazing them with crosses which I found difficult to do without a piping nozzle I ended up by slathering the whole buns in the delicious icing.I made them with wholemeal flour and they were perfect.Hope you will try out this recipe I have adapted from Friday


Ingredients for Hot cross Buns
  • 500gms cake flour(you can substitute 250 gms with wholemeal flour)
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 1tsp cinnamon ground
  • 1/2tsp nutmeg
  • a pinch of salt
  • 10 gms instant yeast sachet
  • 50 gms demerara sugar
  • 100gms butter
  • 100 gms sultanas
  • 200ml warm milk,plus 1 tbs extra
Glaze: 3tbs water plus 1tbs caster sugar
For the iced crosses: 35gms icing sugar plus 1 tspmilk

Sift the flour,allspice,cinnamon,nutmeg and salt in a bowl then add in instant yeast and sugar.Rub butter into the mixture until it attains a crumbly texture then add the sultanas.Stir in milk to from dough.Transfer toa floured surface and work it until soft and pliable.Preheat oven to 200 degrees centigrade, place dough in a large bowl and allow to stand 30 minutes or till it has doubled in size.Once again knock the dough down and
divide into 12 balls.place them slightly touching each other in a square cake tin and allow them to stand an additional 20 minutes.Bake approcximately 30 minutes or adjust the time till they turn golden in color.Glaze the buns by heating the sugar and water mentioned under glaze till about two minutes and then applying it on the buns that have been removed from the oven and let the glazed buns cool down.
Mix the icing sugar and milk place it ina piping bag and pipe crosses or swirls for a change or simply apply it all over the buns like I did with my batch above.These are sure to bring smiles onto your little ones faces.On the flip side you will jealous neighbours quipping about the divine aroma that emanates from your home.Go on make them!

Note: The use of whole meal flour gives them a denser texture and you need to bake them for an additional amount of time which you need to adjust according to your oven but the rule of thumb is a golden brown color and well done buns.



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