I'm not religious in any way and neither is N, so celebrating Easter might seems like an odd thing to do in Our Lovely Flat (tm). However, since it was a Pagan festival stolen by the Christians, which has since been re-appropriated by the Capitalists I figure that the food lovers out there are well within their right to borrow the occasion as an excuse to make some damn fine food. After all I think any great food could be considered sacred, and I don't need any excuses to worship at the table!
To be honest, I don't need an excuse to try making homemade versions of food that I really enjoy, in fact I don't need any excuse to make any tasty food at all, but Easter did provide an opportunity to make a whole lot of it at once! Having made my own stollen at Christmas I just couldn't resit trying my hand at the classic hot cross bun. I love hot cross buns, they combine so many things that I enjoy, bread, spices and toast (because I think the best way to enjoy them is toasted to bring out the spices, then slathered in butter!).
Fortunately one of my favourite cookbooks The River Cottage Year by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall included what looked like a great recipe for hot cross buns, and having cooked a number of things from it that have worked out perfectly I knew I need look no further. (I seriously can't recommend this book too highly, I can't wait to see what the Summer month recipes hold in store for us).
The smell of the dough was so fantastic. All spicy with a hint of orange, lemon and yeast. I was so excited about the whole thing that I totally forgot to look at how many the mix would make. So when it came to dividing the dough I was peering at the recipe reciting "cut into 2, then 4, then..." pauses and reads on, "ah, 16, that's rather a lot..." Oops! I must admit I wasn't too disappointed, in fact I was rather pleased. You can never have too many hot cross buns in my opinion.
It was so much fun making the plain flour dough for the crosses. It really felt like I was making proper professional food. I was so smug. N arrived home from work just as I was pasting the crosses on and his face lit up in a grin.
It was hard to resist not breaking one or two open when they came out of the oven and start eating them immediately, but somehow our will power held and they managed to be kept for breakfast. They were delicious and H F-W was right, the didn't have a yeasty flavour at all, just the gentle tones of mixed spice and the slight hint of orange and lemon. Perfect.
So, another thank you to H F-W, another great breakfast, and another successful food adventure.
I'm afraid I'm not going to post the recipe as it is a whole page of the book and quite frankly I can't be bothered to copy it out. I'll just leave you with the photos to make you all jealous! - Plus you should buy the book, it's brilliant.