Another weekend, another snowstorm! I’ve decided to ignore the weather as best I can and instead welcome Spring into the kitchen. Easter Sunday is just two weeks away and so I’m sharing the first of my seasonal bakes in the form of these Earl Grey and orange hot cross buns. If one thing is sure to banish the Winter blues, it’s the scent of these freshly baked buns emanating from the kitchen! This was a flavour combination I had spotted on the high street and vowed to make a vegan version so my Mum could enjoy them too, egg-free. The orange marries well with the dried fruit and brings out the zesty, bergamot flavours in the Earl Grey as an aromatic note at the end. To make them, you will need:
500g strong white flour
7g fast-action dried yeast
Zest of one large orange
Earl Grey tea: 200ml made with 4 teabags, steeped for 5 minutes
150ml milk of your choice (I used cow’s milk as it’s just eggs my Mum avoids, but I’m going to try it with oat milk next!)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 cardamom pods, with the seeds removed and ground
150g sultanas (preferably soaked in boiling water to plump them).
Mix the flour with the yeast on one side and salt on the other side of the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the bowl and pour in the Earl Grey tea and milk.
Using a dough hook, mix the dry and wet ingredients until they form a dough, then knead for 10 minutes on the lowest speed of your mixer. It should be smooth and stretchy.
Cover and prove for an hour, or until doubled in size.
Scoop out the dough and stretch on a lightly floured chopping board. Sprinkle with the spices and fruit, then fold the dough over itself to incorporate the spices, kneading until they are evenly distributed.
Divide the dough into twelve pieces and roll into balls. Place a centimetre or two apart on a floured tray and prove again until double the size. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan. When the buns have had their second rise, make a flour paste using 75g flour and 2 tbsp of water and scoop into a piping bag. Pipe a cross onto each bun (for best results, work quickly and snip only a small hole in the end of the bag – the crosses spread when they bake).
If you’re not making them vegan, you could brush them with an egg wash for added shine. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden.
Cool for ten minutes then brush with runny honey to glaze. Serve still warm with copious tea.
What are you baking this snowy weekend?
I adapted the basic quantities from this recipe in Healthy Magazine to make the Earl Grey and orange hot cross buns my own!