Good Friday is well upon us and I have to admit, it caught me a little off guard. We've finally seen the end of winter and have been blessed with some really wonderful weather. Needless to say, I've been spending my days out doors, cleaning gardens, gathering fallen branches and raking last years leaves. I had planned to post this recipe sooner, my apologies. It's not to late though, to make these moist, spicy, fruity gems for Easter morning breakfast!
Happy Easter! He is risen!
Makes 24, 3 ounce buns. May be frozen for up to a month well wrapped in plastic wrap.
6 1/2 cups plus extra, unbleached white flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
grated peel of 1 lemon
grated peel of 1 orange
2 1/4 cups of mixed dried fruit, I used half yellow and 1/2 dark raisins
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 envelopes of active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
2 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
For the crosses
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons water
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream
one 1/2 sheet baking pan, lined with parchment paper
1. In a small bowl, combine the raisins and 2 cups hot water, set aside for 15 minutes to plump.
2. In a large bowl, mix the 6 1/2 cups flour, sugar, spices, salt and grated citrus peel. Mix with a whisk until combined, set aside.
3. Stir the yeast together with the 1/2 cup of warm water in a measuring cup. Add the 1 teaspoon sugar and stir well, and let stand until foamy about 5 minutes.
4. Drain the soaked raisins through a sieve into a bowl and save the liquid, pressing out as much water as possible without smashing the raisins. Measure 1 cup of the raisin water, discard any left and add 1/2 cup heavy cream to the 1 cup of raisin water, mix together.
5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the yeast, the beaten eggs, the softened butter and the raisin water mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon just until mixed.
6. Add the raisins and mix together to make a shaggy dough. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured table. Kneed the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic working in more flour as needed to make a soft but not sticky dough.
7. Place the dough in a large clean bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Set in a warm draft free place and allow to rise until double in bulk. About 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch the dough down with your fist and turn out onto a clean counter.
8. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces (about 3 1/4 ounces) each. Or roll into a fat log and cut 24 equal pieces. Shape each portion into a neat little ball and position on the parchment lined pan. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm draft free place to rise until almost double. When double, set the oven temperature to 500° F.
9. To make the crosses, mix together the flour, sugar and water, in a small bowl. Whisk together until completely smooth to make a slightly thick paste. Pour into a sandwich bag and cut a very small hole (about 1/4 inch ) in the bottom corner of the bag. Set aside. With the back of a small knife, make a slight indentation in the shape of a cross on each bun. Brush the buns with the egg wash then pipe a cross on each bun over the indentation.
10. Put the tray into the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 400° F. and bake for 20 minutes, turning the pan half way through. Buns should be a nice golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove the buns from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.