April 05, 2017

Hello Everybody!
There are lots of amazing reasons that we all look forward to Spring: brighter days, flowers everywhere and of course Easter, to name just a few! But one of the very best things about this time of year is the food, and what would Easter be without Hot Cross Buns? 

As usual we didn't want to just make things in the usual way so we decided to turn our Hot Cross Buns into a loaf, and found the perfect recipe for a Hot Cross Bun Loaf  by Edd Kimber. So here is a very delicious and incredibly more-ish Hot Cross Bun Loaf. We also thought it looked pretty cute too!

250g plain flour
250g strong white bread flour
50g caster sugar 
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
zest of 1 large orange
75g unsalted butter, and extra for greasing
7g sachet of fast-action dried yeast
1 large egg
300ml milk
300g mixed dried fruit
2 tbsp clear apricot jam

For the cross...
2 tbsp plain flour
2-3 tbsp milk

Grease a loaf tin preferably approx. 20x9x8 (ours is 25x15x6 so not as deep as it should be and that's why we have a bit of a shelf situation going on) with butter and line with greaseproof paper leaving excess to hang over the sides as this will make removing the loaf a lot easier later on.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, spices, orange zest and 1 tsp salt. Then, add the butter, in small pieces, and rub together using your fingertips until it starts to resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add the dried yeast, and mix again, then make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients.

Mix together your egg and milk and then pour into the centre of the dry ingredients. Keep mixing until it comes together as a dough. Tip the dough out onto the work surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until it's smooth and elastic. Or for just 10 minutes in a stand mixer. This is definitely a sticky dough but don't be tempted to add more flour, just trust in the recipe and it will eventually come together. 

Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling film and set aside for about an hour until doubled in size.

Once an hour has passed, tip the dough onto the work surface and press flat. Add the dried fruit and knead this into the dough until evenly distributed. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces and form into balls. Place the balls of dough into the lined tin and cover with a piece of lightly greased clingfilm. Set aside for another hour until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC Fan/Gas Mark 6. To make the cross, simply mix together the flour and enough milk to make a thick, just about pourable paste. Place into a piping bag and snip the end off. Once your dough has risen, pipe a cross onto each round of dough.

Bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes or until deep golden. Immediately turn it out and leave to cool on a wire rack. While the loaf is still warm, heat the apricot jam and then brush this over the top for a lovely shiny glaze.

If you love Hot Cross Buns like we do then you definitely need to try this! 
The loaf is really delicious with cinnamon flavours and sweet bursts of fruit. We love how it looks just like a batch of hot cross buns from above but really there's a whole loaf below!
We love to eat ours toasted with a spread of melting butter! It is a perfect snack anytime of the day, or makes a delicious breakfast.

Thanks so much for reading this post!
What delicious treats do you look forwards to eating at Easter?
Let us know if there is anything you would like us to see us make, 
we would love to know your thoughts and ideas!

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Lots of love, Antonia and Imogen x

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