I love a good hot cross bun, the combination of fruit and spice in a toasted bun slathered with butter…yum. I must admit I have always been a traditionalist when it comes to the hot cross bun. I mean to say, is it still a hot cross bun if it has been changed beyond recognition?
So no-one was more surprised than me to break from tradition to try something new.
I was pondering what to do with some pears that were looking a little bit past their best when Mr Lemon Grove suggested that I make some pear and chocolate hot cross buns. I thought the idea was genius, but there is every chance Mr Lemon Grove was simply trying to sneak the chocolate flavour past me considering I had refused to make chocolate hot cross buns before.
Here’s a tip: If you are just starting a blog, don’t try to develop new recipes on the day you want to post them… my first attempt was too chocolatey and the pear flavour was lost. Although some may wonder if there is such a thing as too chocolatey? (And yes, I know that chocolatey is not a real word, but it explains so much).
So here is version 2 of my pear and chocolate hot cross buns.
- 250gm bakers flour (strong flour)
- 30gm sugar
- 8gm dry yeast
- 20gm butter
- 1teaspoon cinnamon plus 1 teaspoon extra for cooking pears
- 140ml water (approx.)
- 3gm salt
- 50gm dark chocolate chips
- 1 large firm pear.
Flour Paste for Crosses:
- 75gm plain flour
- 2teaspoon caster sugar
- 80ml water (approx.).
- 2Tablespoon caster sugar
- 2Tablespoon water.
Peel, quarter and core pear. Cut into small pieces (approx 1cm in size, don’t make them too small or the flavour is lost in the bun).
Cook pears with 1 tspn of cinnamon in a saucepan, with a small amount of water, over a medium heat for approx 10 minutes or until the pear has softened but is still firm. Be careful not to overcook the pear or it will fall apart when you knead into the dough.
Drain pears using a sieve and then place them on a paper towel. Pat pears with another paper towel to remove all moisture. Pears should be dry when you knead them into the dough or the dough will become very wet. Set aside to cool.
Put flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and butter into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, with a paddle attachment, mix on a low speed until there are no lumps of butter left and the consistency is like breadcrumbs.
Change attachment to the dough hook. Add water and mix on a medium speed until dough has come together and is smooth. Add salt and mix on medium high for approx 5 minutes. Dough should be firm and smooth.
Place dough on a lightly floured bench and add in the chocolate chips. Knead until the chocolate chips are evenly mixed in.
Add pear and knead again until mixture comes together in a ball. If dough becomes wet from the pears add additional bakers flour until mixture comes back together. Tip: It will feel like there is too much pear and chocolate when you try to bring the dough together so just make into a ball as best as you can.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Tip: Keep the oiled plastic wrap, as you can reuse it later in the process.
Rest dough in a warm place for approximately 30 minutes.
Punch down dough, knead, then cut dough and shape into 10 balls. Cover the balls with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Rest dough for 5 minutes.
Reshape balls and place on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Leave a space between each ball, to allow them to double in size. Cover with oiled plastic wrap.
Rest dough for approximately 1 hour, in a warm place, until balls have risen and doubled in size.
Just before buns are ready to go in the oven, make the flour paste for the crosses by whisking together flour, sugar and water. The paste should be firm enough to pipe.
Remove plastic wrap from buns. If any pear pieces have come out of the dough just tuck them gently underneath.
Pipe crosses on dough.
Bake at 200°C for approx 15-18 minutes.
While the buns are baking, make syrup by stirring sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar has dissolved.
Remove buns from oven then brush hot buns with syrup and place on a wire rack to cool.
See an updated version of this recipe here.