Easter is just around the corner, so I thought it was high time to share my first celebratory seasonal recipe! Last year I made chocolate and spice hot cross buns, and the year before a hot cross bun loaf. They are well worth the time and effort expended, but if you’re looking for your hot crossed fix in a hurry then these hot cross apple scones deliver the subtle spice and comforting texture of the seasonal staple – without hours spent proving, shaping and baking. To make them, you will need:
400g self-raising flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp baking powder
100g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tsp ground mixed spice
85g muscovado sugar
2 small Braeburn apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
100g dried fruit (I used sultanas)
Zest and 1 tbsp juice from one orange
200ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium egg beaten (or a little extra milk to bind the dough)
For the crosses and to decorate:
85g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp golden syrup.
Preheat the oven to 220C/ Gas 7 and heat a baking sheet on the top shelf of the oven. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl with a half tsp of salt. Rub in the butter until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in the spice, sugar, dried fruit and orange zest.
Add the apple. Warm the milk to room temperature then stir in the orange juice and vanilla plus 2 tbsp beaten egg (or an extra 2 tbsp milk). Combine using a round-bladed knife, working lightly to make a rough, sticky dough.
Tip the dough onto a clean, floured work surface or board. Gently knead until the dough looks smooth.
Pat into a round about 3 cm thick, then stamp out 6cm rounds using a cutter. Gather the leftovers, pat together and repeat to make 16 scones.
To make the paste for the crosses, stir 6–7 tbsp cold water into the plain flour. It will loosen as it sits, so don’t add too much water. Spoon into a disposable piping bag and snip off the end at about 5mm.
Sprinkle the hot baking sheet with flour, then add the scones. Pipe crosses over the tops – working quickly is key.
Bake for 12 minutes or until risen, golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath.
Stir 1 tsp boiling water into the golden syrup to make a glaze, then brush over the cooked scones and leave to cool a little on a wire rack.
Serve still warm with lashings of butter and a dollop of lemon curd.
What are you baking this Easter?
Recipe via Silvana Franco for Waitrose.