This recipe adaptation was another one of those saw it-checked the pantry-made it situations. Jeremy and I spent a few days before the actual Easter holiday this year with his family in Southern Illinois. I’ve established a precedent of bringing some baked goods with me every time we take the three hour drive north/west on I-24 and when I saw the Spiced Cranberry Hot Cross Buns Kathryn posted on her blog, London Bakes, I knew they’d be perfect.
I had a bag of fresh cranberries withering in a produce drawer of our refrigerator [last hold-outs from the winter holidays] as well as a bag of candied ginger slices. Adding both amped up an already deliciously spice-ful recipe and added a variety of textures with the pop of fresh cranberries and the chew of the candied ginger.
The beauty of these buns is that they don’t have to be pigeon-holed just for the Easter holidays. Just skip the addition of the plain flour cross on top of the buns – but don’t skip the sugar glaze!
Hot cross buns were never a tradition for the Easter holiday in my family, unlike the ham and potatoes au gratin, but after these buns turned out so beautifully, I’m thinking I may have to make them one!
What are your favorite family Easter traditions, if you celebrate this holiday? I would love to know!
Cranberry Ginger Spice Hot Cross Buns
yield : 12 buns
300 ml [1 1/4 cups] milk [I used whole, but you can use whatever you prefer]
50 g [a little under 1/2 stick] unsalted butter
500 g [4 cups] bread flour
1 tsp kosher salt
75 g [1/3 cup] granulated cane sugar
1 packet yeast
1 large egg, lightly whisked to combine yolk + white
100 g [4 ounces] fresh cranberries, sliced in half
1/4 cup candied ginger, small dice
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
75 g [2/3 cup] all-purpose flour, unbleached
2 TBSP granulated cane sugar
Warm milk to near boiling, stirring to prevent scorching the milk. Add butter and stir until melted. Set aside and let cool to 120-130 farenheit [ideal temperature to activate yeast].
While milk is heating, butter is melting and/or mixture is cooling, put flour, salt, sugar and yeast into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Whisk to distribute evenly. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture.
Add milk and egg to flour mixture. Stir together with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Knead mixture with dough hook attachment on low for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Cover dough with a clean cotton dishtowel and set in a warm place for an hour or so, until the dough has doubled in size.
Return bowl to stand mixer. Add cranberries, ginger and spices and knead for a few minutes until well distributed. Re-cover with towel and allow to rise again for an hour, or doubled in size, in your warm spot.
Divide the dough into equal pieces, weighing about 3 ounces each. Smooth into round buns and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover again and let rise until the buns have doubled in size, about an hour.
Heat oven to 375. While oven is coming to temperature, mix 2/3 cup all-purpose flour with 2-3 tablespoons water until you have a smooth paste. Pipe flour paste on top of buns into crosses.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
While buns are baking, melt 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in 2 tablespoons water. Once buns are finished baking [golden and crispy outsides, especially bottoms], brush syrup on top of each bun with a pastry brush.