Hot Cross Buns are a Good Friday - Pre Easter- End of Lent food tradition for some people around the world... namely any country that has come in "contact" with England... so that means parts of the US as well.
They are a spicy (Cinnamon not Cayenne) sweet bun, loaded with either raisins or dried currants, then marked with a cross on top. I love these for breakfast and brunch... or midnight with a tall glass of milk.
I haven't had Hot Cross Buns in awhile... not since my days in culinary school in Rhode Island, and maybe a few times after here and there, and actually kind of forgot about them until recently.
My fellow Okie and favorite Pioneer Woman was knocking out a batch on her show the other day and it got my mind racing as to what flavors I would like to see in Hot Cross Buns. So snagging parts of Ree's recipe, I incorporated flavors near and dear to my heart to come up with my own version. Hope you enjoy!
Cross Bun Dough
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar (divided into 1/2 and 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons active dry yeast (2- .25 ounce packages Active Dry Yeast)
4 cups unbleached All-Purpose flour, plus extra for working the dough
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons In The Kitchen With Scotty “More Than Pumpkin Pie Spice” blend or just ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest, micro planed
3 ounces dried currants
1 large egg white
splash of whole milk
mix thoroughly until combined. Brush lightly onto your cross buns before baking for a nice glossy surface.
Orange Cardamom Icing
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon orange zest, micro planed
Powdered Sugar as needed (I use around 12 ounces)
- In a sauce pot scald the milk along with 1/2 cup of the sugar, and grapeseed oil. Just enough to warm and dissolve the sugar. Add the fresh lemon zest, salt, and egg yolk. Mix in well. When the mixture is “blood temp” sprinkle in the yeast (about 2 packages) and let the yeast bloom.
- In the meantime measure out your flour and add to a mixing bowl. To that add the two teaspoons of ground cardamom. Once the yeast has bloomed (all frothy and bubbly on top) add to the flour mixture and mix in. The dough will be wet and sticky. Cover the dough and let it rest and start to rise a bit… about 20 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. work and knead the dough, adding flour to the surface when needed. When the dough is still slightly sticky but not super wet, roll out into a thick somewhat rectangular shape. Mix together the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of the More Than Pumpkin Pie Spice. Sprinkle the mixture onto the dough along with a tablespoon or two of the dried currants. Fold the dough over into itself, roll out, fold again, and roll out. Repeat the process of the cinnamon sugar mixture and dried currants until it is all used up.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a sheet pan or cookie sheet with either a Sil-Pat liner or prepared parchment paper. Pinch off golf ball sized pieces of the dough, between your pointer finger and thumb squeezing out nice smooth round balls. Or pinch off that size and roll around in your hands to a nice smooth ball. It may help to coat your hands in oil or cooking spray as the dough will still be slightly sticky.
- Place the ball uniformly on the cooking pan and let rise in a warm place for around 30 minutes.
- While the dough is on its second rise, combine 1 egg whites along with a splash of milk for an egg wash; Mix well. Before baking brush the entire roll with the egg wash to give the baked goods “shine”. Place in the oven and bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and glossy. Remove from the oven and cool to touch.
- Prepare the Orange-Cardamom icing and pour into a squeeze bottle, makeshift piping bag, or a piping bag with a round tip. Pipe out a cross pattern onto the top of each roll. Let the icing dry before handling.