Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter comes to Canada -- can spring be far behind?

Canada usually doesn't experience the bucolic spring time where folks go around saying, "Oh to be in England, now that spring is here."
Many parts of the country are still blanketed in snow, enduring "spring storms" which feature icy little needles of rain, followed by falling slush and then full on snow. It is greening up nicely around here, but this has been a weird weather year for us...

Generally, we have touch points for the changing of the seasons that have nothing to do with nature. We buy daffodils from the Cancer Society volunteers parked inside the entrance of the grocery stores, and Girl Guide cookies from the little darlings who come to the door.
And I make hot cross buns for Good Friday and Easter weekend.
I use chopped up dried cherries for the fruit, and I put their crosses on just before they hit the table.
Here is the recipe, along with a wish for a lovely Easter celebration in your part of the world.
Hot Cross Buns
(makes 8)
1 cup milk
3 tbsp butter
2- 3/4 to 3-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tbsp chopped dried cherries or cherry flavoured cranberries (dusted with a bit of flour)
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of all spice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast
1 egg
Warm milk in the microwave. It should be quite warm to the touch, but not hot. In a large bowl, combine milk, 1 cup of the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and egg. With an electric mixer, beat at low speed until moist. Beat at medium speed for two minutes. By hand, stir in remaining flour, cinnamon, all spice and dried fruit until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 2 minutes). Place dough in a buttered bowl and turn the dough in the bowl so it is greased as well. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size (about 45 to 60 minutes). I usually put my oven on at about 100 degrees and then turn it off. I keep the oven light on too and that creates a nice warm place for rising.
After the first rise, punch down the dough and divide into eight balls of dough. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place the dough balls about an inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap and the tea towel and put it all back in the warm rising place for a second rise. This one will be about 30-45 minutes. The dough will be doubled in size and light at the end of this rise. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush tops of the buns with an egg wash (egg white thinned with a bit of water) Cut crosses in the tops with a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen shears. Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes. Watch carefully. You are going for a nice golden colour -- and because of the sugar, these can burn easily.
Brush tops of the buns with some melted butter and allow to cool completely. Before serving, pipe a frosting cross on the top of each bun.
1/2 cup icing sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons softened butter
1 teaspoon milk or light cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Cream the butter in a small bowl, gradually add the icing sugar, slowly add the milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Put the frosting in a piping bag or a small re-seable lunch bag with one of the bottom corners nipped off.  Store in the fridge until the buns are gone, or until a teenager finds it and pipes the whole thing directly into his mouth...

1 comment:

  1. yummy,thankyou for the recipe.Have a safe and happy easter.xx


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