HOT CROSS BUNS
Note: This recipe is adapted from a favorite in "The Book of Bread," by Judith and Evan Jones. Use freshly grated nutmeg, if at all possible. The improvement in flavor and aroma is a revelation. Any leftover buns are great when split and toasted.
• 31/2 to 33/4 c. all-purpose flour
• 2 tbsp. instant, or rapid-rise, yeast
• 2 tsp. coarse salt or 1 tsp. table salt
• 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
• 1/4 tsp. allspice
• 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
• 2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
• 11/4 c. milk, warmed to lukewarm
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 c. dried currants
• 1/2 c. powdered sugar
• 2 tsp. milk
In a large bowl, combine 31/2 cups flour, yeast, salt, sugar, spices and orange zest, whisking to combine.
With a wooden spoon (or, if using a stand mixer, with a dough hook), slowly add the lukewarm milk until absorbed, then add the eggs, mixing well. Add the butter, mixing thoroughly, then mix in currants until well distributed. If the dough seems very sticky, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Or, let dough raise overnight in the refrigerator, although not longer than 12 hours.
Prepare two baking sheets by lightly coating with baking spray or shortening, or covering with parchment paper.
Scrape dough onto a lightly floured counter and roll into a cylinder 18 inches long. Cut into 18 slices, 1 inch wide.
With floured hands, shape dough into a ball: Using one finger to support the dough, pull the edges around and under, repeating until you have a round shape. For an even smoother surface, lay the ball on an unfloured surface, cup it with your hand and, with gentle pressure, begin briskly rotating the dough for about 10 seconds. The friction of the dough against the counter will make the surface more taut and round.
Repeat with remaining dough, arranging 9 buns on each baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place rack in middle position.
Cover buns with clean towels and place in a warm area until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. With a scissors, make a cross in each bun, snipping quite deep.
Bake one sheet of buns for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Repeat with second pan of buns.
Mix together powdered sugar and milk for glaze. Pour into a plastic bag, snip open a corner and drizzle a cross on each bun, following the lines of the cuts in the bun.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 150 Fat 2 g Sodium 410 mg
Carbohydrates 28 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 36 mg
Protein 5 g Cholesterol 25 mg Dietary fiber 2 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 1/2 fat.