Naomi is coming over this weekend, we haven’t managed to get together for a few weeks. She asked me if I would make some hot cross buns and maybe some fruit cake.
I haven’t made hot cross buns for a few years, last year we were away and the year before I think we couldn’t get together or maybe I just didn’t have the time. I’m never entirely happy with my hot cross buns. I never seem to be able to get yeast to rise the way I would like. I’m a traditionalist about hot cross buns. I don’t want them chocolate flavoured, or with chocolate chips or worse with no fruit. You can buy hot cross buns in the supermarket more or less from Boxing Day which annoys the heck out of me. I wouldn’t eat mince pies all year round even though I adore them and I consider that hot cross buns should only be eaten at Easter. The rest of the year they could be sold as yeasty fruit buns with no crosses. I don’t know why they just don’t do that.
I have a few recipes but as I was not sure if I had enough plain flour I decided to look online to see if there was a recipe that would work with self-raising flour. I found a couple on an American website and learned that if you use self-raising flour you don’t need yeast or salt. In the end, I decided that I had enough plain flour and I’d just bought yeast so I went to an Australian site and picked a recipe from that.
The recipes included the instructions for making the baked on crosses with flour and water and to my surprise, several people who commented on the US site were quite suspicious of this idea and thought it would taste awful. Most of the Australian and British recipes put this as a matter of course unless the crosses are to be iced on later. Some readers were going to make their baked on crosses with sugar instead. I don’t know how that would have worked out.
Now me, I don’t do either as I have a lot of trouble with piping anything. I just can’t get the hang of it. What I do is to use pastry and stick them on. Well, I used frozen pastry but I didn’t want to thaw out a whole packet of it just for that so I planned to make sausage rolls as well and do the crosses with the leftover pastry. My sausage rolls are nothing fancy. I just mixed my sausage meat with a little chutney for some extra flavour.
My first batch of buns made on Wednesday, I wasn’t too happy with. I left them in the oven a bit too long and while they were not burnt they were not quite right so I made another batch today which I thought looked better. They are very fruity because I always put more fruit than required in any recipe that involves it.
Here is the recipe I used. There are many variations on this of course. I have a similar one in my Margaret Fulton Cookbook but decided to use this one as I had raisins and peel I wanted to use up. I may have thrown some currants in there as well. Surprisingly for me, they came out looking not unlike the ones in the recipe.
It’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll.
Here are the sausage rolls, some of them will be eaten tomorrow no doubt.
As long as I had the oven on I thought I might as well pop in a batch of cupcakes. Naomi likes Red Velvet Cake and as I didn’t think I’d get time to make one from scratch I bought a packet mix.
My fruitcake was also a bit of an experiment. Mum used to make a fruit cake that I really liked and I knew she put cold tea in it instead of water to mix. I can’t recall where the recipe came from so I just looked online to find something similar. One was quite complicated and I knew mum’s recipe was very simple so I found another which basically just called for soaking the fruit in a cup of black tea until it cooled. I did a practice run earlier in the week and as with the buns left it in the oven just a bit too long although it was still edible. When I came to make it again yesterday I found I had run out of brown sugar. As going to the shops would have taken too long, I just used some baking sweetener I had on hand. I adjusted the cooking time a bit, longer than the recipe said but not as long as I’d left it the other day. I think that it came out quite well.
I got both the fruit cake and hot cross bun recipes from Allrecipes.com.au
At the moment the site is not letting members save recipes so I had to search again to find them, lucky I printed mine out. There are a few variations of the fruit cake. This one is called Mixed Fruit Barm Brack, the others, which are mostly Irish and Welsh recipes, involve soaking the fruit overnight. I knew mum never did that so thought this one was more true to what she would have made.