Hot Cross Buns
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted, plus extra for brushing
2 eggs, separated
1 cup hot milk (120-130degrees)
3 1/2 – 4 cups bread or all-purpose([i]plain) flour, approx
1 package dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup candied fruit
1 egg yoke, mixed with 2 Tablespoons water
1 cup confectioners’ icing mixed with 1 Tbsp milk and 1 tsp lemon juice
BAKING SHEET: 1 baking sheet or Teflon
BY HAND OR MIXER:
# In a large bowl mix the sugar, melted butter, egg yolks, and hot milk. Stir to blend and set aside for a moment.
# Into a mixing or mixer bowl measure 2 1/2 cups flour, the yeast, salt and spices; blend. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour with 50 strong stokes of a wooden spoon, or for 2 minutes with a mixer flat beater. Add the currants or raisins and candied fruit. Blend.
# Beat the egg whites until frothy but not quite stiff, and work into the batter. Add additional flour, 1/2 cup at a time, with the spoon or dough hook, until it is a rough mass. Knead for 2-3 minutes. Don’t make it a stiff dough but leave it soft and elastic.
# Attach the plastic dough blade.
# Mix the moist ingredients, as above.
# Measure 2 1/2 cups flour, the yeast, salt and spices into the work bowl. Pulse to blend. With the food processor running, pour the liquid the rough the feed tube to make a batter. Uncover the bowl and scrape down the sides with a spatula. Drop in the currants or raisnins and candied fruit.
# With the processor on, add beaten egg whites and the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to form a rough, shaggy dough that cleans the bowl and rides on the blade.
# Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature while ti rises to double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
# Punch down the dough. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight. On the following day, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and allow to stand for about 1 hour at room temperature.
# Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
# If using a food processor, return the dough to the work bowl and knead for 45 seconds.
# Divide the dough into equal parts in successive steps–2-4-8-16-32, and shape into balls. Place the balls about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.
# Brush the balls with melted butter, cover with wax or parchment paper, and put aside to rise until double the volume, 1hour.
# Preheat oven to 375F 20 minutes before baking.
# Remove the paper covering the balls. With a razor or scissors, cut a cross on the top of each bun. Brush with the egg-water wash.
# Place in the oven until nicely browned, about 25 minutes. If oven space is limited, several batches may be baked. (If using a convection oven, reduce the heat to 325F.)
# Remove the buns from the oven. Place on wire racks.
# When cool, form a cross in the cuts on each bun with fairly firm confectioners’ icing.