Culture Street

In this updated version of the traditional Easter hot cross bun, chunks of dark chocolate and tart dried cherries make these even more irresistible!

Makes: 12
Preparation time: 25 minutes (+ 1 hours proving time)
Baking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
750 g (1 lb 10 oz/5 cups) bread or pizza flour
55 g (2 oz/1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
14 g (1/2 oz/2 sachets) dried yeast
11/2 teaspoons mixed spice
11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
150 g (51/2 oz/1 cup) dried cherries (see Bakers tips)
75 g (21/2 oz/1/2 cup) currants
435 ml (151/4 fl oz/13/4 cups) milk
60 g (21/4 oz) butter, cubed, plus extra, to grease and serve
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence
100 g (31/2 oz/2/3 cup) chopped good-quality dark chocolate

Flour paste
75 g (21/2 oz/1/2 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
75 ml (21/4 fl oz) water

Glaze
55 g (2 oz/1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons water

Method

1. Put the bread flour, sugar, yeast, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Stir through the dried cherries and currants.

2. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has just melted and the milk is lukewarm. Whisk one of the eggs with the vanilla and add to the milk mixture. Whisk to combine. Add to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.

3. Turn onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead for 810 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Lightly grease a clean large bowl with a little butter, add the dough and turn to coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

4. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Punch the centre of the dough down with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead for 23 minutes or until smooth. Knead in the chocolate. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on the tray, allowing room for spreading. Cover with a damp tea towel (dish towel) and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) or 160C (315F) fan-forced. Meanwhile, make the Flour paste. Combine the flour and water in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spoon into a small plastic bag.

6. Whisk the remaining egg and brush the tops of the buns with it. Snip a small hole in the corner of the plastic bag containing the Flour paste and pipe crosses on the buns.

7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the buns are cooked and sound hollow when tapped on the base.

8. Meanwhile, make the Glaze. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and simmer for 1 minute. Transfer the hot cross buns to a wire rack and brush the tops with the glaze. Serve warm, spread with butter.

Bakers tips
Dried cherries are available at selected supermarkets, delicatessens, grocery shops and specialty food stores.
You can replace them with good-quality dried cranberries.

These hot cross buns are best eaten the day they are made. To freeze for up to 3 months, wrap in plastic wrap and seal in an airtight container. Thaw at room temperature.

BakeClass Cover_JacketRecipes and images from BakeClass by Anneka Manning (Murdoch Books) $45 available now in all good bookstores and online. Buy the book here.

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