Happy Easter to everyone!
... Honestly guys, I don't celebrate Easter... but, ya know what I do celebrate: pastries.
Yesmm. And pastries are even more fun when they are seasonal. It's like you wait ALL year for a special treat, and when it finally comes you appreciate it just THAT much more than its standard year-around cousin (here, I guess you could call him the brioche bun?).
I didn't necessarily grow up with hot cross buns when I was a kid (although I'm sure I had a few), but when I moved back to Montreal, my best friend and I went absolutely mad every spring. We would go to La Pâtisserie Belge on Avenue du Parc (my favourite hot cross bun producer), and then after that we would walk ALL the way up to the mile end area to snack on her favourite hot cross bun (if I remember well it was on rue Bernard?). Anyway, it became something that her and I looked forward to in the "springtime" (ahem, the Montreal spring doesn't really count as a separate season). I totally missed out on these guys last year in Paris... I couldn't let that happen again!
This Easter my master's program is having a little get together, and we are all supposed to bring something from our culture's Easter tradition since we are from many different countries. Thus, I chose the nom-numptious hot cross bun to bake!
Oh, and they're vegan!
Hot Cross Buns - What you need:
For the buns:
- 4 teaspoons dry active yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 1/2 cup cashew milk (or any type of nut milk/or milk)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 flax “egg”, or 1 tablespoon flax meal stirred together with 3 tablespoons of water
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- zest of one orange
- 3/4 cup of dried fruit (I used apricots)
- 3 cups all purpose flour
For the flour cross:
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons flour
Plus 1/3 cup apricot jam.
Hot Cross Buns - What you do:
In a large bowl, stir together the warm water (warm to the touch, but not too hot), the yeast, and a pinch of the sugar. Allow this mixture to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. It should become slightly foamy, indicating that the yeast has been activated. If you see no bubbles, then the yeast may be dead and you should start over to make sure your dough rises!
Add the rest of the sugar, the cashew milk, the flax egg, coconut oil, cinnamon, salt, and orange zest.
In three additions, add the flour, stirring well after each addition.
By the end, your dough should come together well. If it’s too dry, add a tablespoon more of cashew milk, and if it’s too wet, add a touch more flour.
I ended up adding 2 tablespoons more of cashew milk, but my homemade cashew milk is a bit thicker than an almond milk or normal milk… so that could be why.
On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and knead for 5 minutes. At this point knead the dried fruit into the dough.
Lightly oil a bowl with coconut oil, and turn the dough around in the bowl so it becomes slightly oiled on all sides.
Cover with a clean cloth and place the bowl in a warm and sunny spot. Allow the dough to rise for an hour.
Once the hour is up, on the lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and knead for another 2 to 3 minutes. After, form small circles from the dough. Try to make sure they’re all around the same size. I used a small glass as a template for my buns.
Place the buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with the clean towel, and again allow the buns to rise for another hour in a sunny and warm spot.
Preheat an oven to 200 Celsius.
Before baking, slice a cross into the top of each bun.
Stir together the flour and water together to make a wet flour paste. If you need more water, add one tablespoon at a time. You want to be able to pipe the flour cross onto the bun without the flour mixture running off the bun.
Scoop the flour mixture into either a pastry bag or a freezer bag, and fill the small crosses in the buns with the flour mixture.
Bake the hot cross buns in the 200 C oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 180 Celsius and continue to bake for another 5 minutes.
The buns should be golden brown.
Microwave (or heat up) the apricot jam slightly, and then with a pastry brush, brush the jam lightly onto the still hot buns.
So, obviously, I put mine really close together. I just sliced them around the edges, and then they pulled apart really easily. You can also space them out a bit more - it's up to you!
This recipe makes around 26 buns.