I love any excuse to decorate the house - Christmas is of course the obvious one but I think it's really nice to add little seasonal touches throughout the year. We have an Easter tree that we make out of branches from the garden and lovely little painted eggs that hang from ribbon. Along with an Easter wreath and some freshly picked daffodils, it's a lovely reminder of the fact we're getting closely to summer and some beautiful sunny weather! We also started sowing seeds in the veg patch today - hopefully they'll be as successful as last year! (fingers crossed)
What are your plans for this Easter weekend? We are having a big Sunday roast and then I'm off for brunch with the girls on bank holiday, a much anticipated break from revision.
Ingredients: (makes about 12)
300ml full-fat milk
500g strong white bread flour
75g caster sugar
1tbsp sunflower oil
7g sachet fast-action yeast
1 egg, beaten
Zest of 1 lemon
2 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
75g plain flour
1. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to the boil. Then remove from the heat and add in the butter. Stir until the butter has melted and then leave to cool slightly.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add in the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Then, once the milk has cooled to hand temperature, (you should be able to test the temperature with your hand and it should be warm not hot) make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the warm milk and butter mixture. Then add in the egg.
3. Mix well with a wooden spoon, bringing everything together and then use your hands to form it into a sticky dough. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. You could also do this in a mixer with a dough hook.
4. When the dough is ready, put it in a lightly oiled, clean mixing bowl and cover the bowl with some lightly-oiled cling film.
Leave the dough to rise in a warm place (a warm kitchen or pantry) for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
5. After it has doubled in size, add in the sultanas, currants, lemon zest apples and cinnamon. Knead these into the dough, making sure the fruit and spice is evenly distributed throughout. Then leave to rise for another hour or until doubled in size, covered again with some lightly-oiled cling film.
6. Then divide the dough into about 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a floured work surface. Then arrange the buns on baking trays lined with baking paper. Leave enough space in-between the buns for them to rise again. Cover with a clean tea towel and then set aside to prove for one more hour.
7. Then heat the oven to 200 degrees C (fan.) Before baking, mix the 75g plain flour with a few tablespoons of cold water until you have a fairly thick paste. Spoon into a piping back with a small nozzle and pipe a cross over each bun. I didn't have a piping bag and so just used a tablespoon to drizzle the paste over the buns. It's easier to go along the whole line of buns one way and then the other rather than do them individually.
8. Then bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Once baked, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
9. Meanwhile heat a few tablespoons of smooth apricot jam in a bowl in the microwave for a few seconds until runny and then brush over the hot cross buns with a pastry brush.
Slightly adapted from: