RECIPE | Hot cross bun loaf
This twist on a classic Easter treat is perfect for brunch. Slice, toast and serve slathered with butter
500g wheat flour
50g caster sugar
7.5ml (1½ tsp) mixed spice
10ml (2 tsp) ground cinnamon
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
80g butter, softened
1 sachet instant yeast
1 large egg
A generous pinch of salt
300ml full cream milk, warmed
350g mixed dried cake fruit
A handful of candied peel, optional
15ml (1 tbsp) smooth apricot jam
15ml (1 tbsp) water
80ml (1/3 cup) wheat flour
15ml (3 tbsp) butter
- Sift the flour, caster sugar and spices into a bowl and add the lemon rind. Rub the butter into the flour mixture.
- Add the yeast and mix through the flour using a round-bladed knife. Set aside.
- Combine the egg, salt and warm milk together in a jug, whisking lightly with a fork.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the flour and, using your hands, bring the mixture together — a slightly wet, sticky dough is preferable to a dry dough so don't be tempted to add extra flour.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 8 -10 minutes till smooth.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot till doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface knock, back the dough and roll out into a rectangle. Sprinkle the fruit and peel, if using, over the dough, then roll it up like a Swiss roll before kneading it gently to mix the fruit through.
- Prepare a medium-sized loaf pan by lining the base and sides with greaseproof paper, leaving extra paper to hang over the sides for easy removal.
- Divide the dough into six equal portions resembling buns — weigh each for accuracy. Place in the pan, cover and place in a warm spot to rise for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- To make the crosses, sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture is a little like breadcrumbs. Add just enough water, 15ml at a time, to make a sticky mixture that can be piped. Place the mixture into a clean plastic bag, snip the corner and use to pipe crosses over the 'buns'.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and continue baking for 20-25 minutes.
- While baking, heat the apricot jam and water in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir till smooth.
- Brush the jam mix over the top of the loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven. The loaf will keep for two days.