Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of a hot cross bun! Well maybe not blood, but dough? Yes, for sure.
Easter has come and gone, and with it the doughy delights of hot cross bun season. And what a season it is. It’s so good that I may just petition for “Easter” to be changed to “Eater”. Or maybe just “Hot Cross Bun”, such is the iconoclastic potency of these things.
With no shadow of a doubt, the smell and taste of hot cross buns defines Easter. Always has, always will. They embody a blend of sensory stimuli that are at once warming, comforting, and wildly exotic as well. The spicy sultriness of cinnamon, the bitter freshness of citrus (peel! There’s no other use for it…), and the all-round stomach-warming deliciousness of flour, sugar and milk… It’s a heady combination that pampers the palate enough to see it through to Christmas. Or at the very least, Monday.
This year, we did what any self-respecting household should do at this time of the year and made our own. The results? Nay short of incredible – the best buns ever to have graced my gullet. These things were triple – yes, triple – proofed (in the tropics!!) to ensure maximum fluffiness. The resulting dough was soft, springy and soporifically pillow-like. Flecks of dried fruit and diced apple – an inspired addition – provided crunch and sweetness, whilst the cinnamon whipped everything together into a miasma of moreishness. In all seriousness, whilst some may argue that the austerity of Lent gives chocolate Easter eggs a greed-defined aura of anticipation, for me it’s the hot cross buns that strike a far more resounding, and sentimental chord.
Perhaps it’s the cross up top, or maybe it’s the fact that they’re so normal and yet so inaccessible (has anyone ever eaten one of these things outside of the hours of Easter? Thought not). It could just be the fact that they make citrus peel palatable. Whatever it is, there is no doubt that these buns are special.
Warm them up – toast them if you can – slap on some butter, and relax. A bite of these things, and you know that the world is a wonderful, wonderful place. Happy belated Easter everyone! I mean Eater; Happy Eater!
To make ours, we loosely followed Paul Hollywood’s recipe from BBC Good Food, and also consulted the following instructional video from The Bread Kitchen: