You might have noticed a plethora of Hot Cross Bun currently sweeping social media, but have you seen many Hot Cross Bun Wreaths?
I haven’t always been a fan of the Hot Cross Bun, but as I got older the idea of a spicy raisin-filled bread grew on me. Years ago my dad always used to tell me that one day my palate would develop to appreciate things I never liked the taste of (like red wine, marmalade, olives and blue cheese in addition to fruit-filled bread), and he was right!
The first time I baked my own Hot Cross Buns was while I was living in China because I couldn’t find any worth writing home about. They were okay but definitely not the best thing I’ve ever baked, and it was times like these where I really missed Woolies.
Fast-forward a few years later and I’m back in South Africa at the start of a pandemic, where everyone is baking banana bread (including me) and making Dalgona Coffee. It’s kind of Easter amidst all the weirdness and I decide to attempt Hot Cross Buns again, although this time I bake them in a loaf and omit the raisins, resulting in Hot Cross Bread.
Over the last 12 months, I’ve realised that leaving the raisins, or any kind of dried fruit you choose to use is a mistake. I also toyed with the idea of using chocolate chips but decided to stick with the traditional version instead. While doing my usual scroll through Instagram a few days ago I came across Gideon Milling’s recipe, saved it for later and decided to use it for this batch.
I adapted it slightly by adding 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom for extra spice, divided it into 8 larger dough balls weighing 138g each and arranged them in my IKEA Vardagen cake tin but you can use a chiffon cake tin instead. If you don’t have either then I’d recommend arranging the buns on a lined baking tray around a smallish cake tin or ovenproof dish so they can bake around it.
I’m definitely not going to tell you how to eat your freshly-baked buns but can definitely recommend hot out the oven with lashings of salty butter. The next day they’re excellent toasted and smothered in butter and jam.
I particularly love tearing them open and covering them with my homemade Apricot & Ruby Grapefruit Marmalade (as seen in this post) stored in one of my Le Parfait Super Jars. And if I’m making a bigger meal out of them then I’ll top them with grated white cheddar (another combo I never thought I’d love as much as I do now that I’m older).
Wherever you choose to get your Hot Cross Bun fix this year, whether you bake them yourself or buy from your favourite shop, I hope your Easter is a far cry from last year’s. It’s been a long 12 months and I think we’ve all earned and deserve a long weekend spent celebrating and relaxing with friends & family.