In days gone by bread and buns were assumed to hold all sorts of mystical powers. It was said that if you purchased a hot cross bun made on Good Friday it would never go mouldy. This surely begs the question “why would you buy a hot cross bun that never goes mouldy, don’t you just want to eat them? But no, apparently tying them to the rafters of your home was a much better use for them. To be fair the humble hot cross bun was believed to be so empowered that it could cure illness and if hung from the rafters would protect the house. Mind you, as a country that buys its insurance off a meerkat on TV I don’t really feel that we can sit in judgement of our ancestors’ little idiosyncrasies.
Another tradition around hot cross buns is to sing the nursery rhyme “Hot Cross Buns”. This nursery rhyme has been around since the 18th century when London street vendors would hawk their wares by shouting out “Hot Cross Buns” to lure passerbys.
Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha’ penny,
Two ha’ penny,
Hot Cross Buns!
Some of you will remember this song from your childhood, but for those of you who don’t know it I warn you that it is an earworm and you will never be able to eat hot cross buns without hearing it over and over and over and …… over!
I originally posted this recipe almost a year ago. As I enjoyed them so much the first time around I thought I would play around with the recipe a bit to see if I could improve them. This time I have added more spices and instead of using fresh pears I have used dried pears. The dried pears were definitely a lot easier to work with as the dough didn’t get as wet so it was a lot easier to handle.
Pear and Chocolate Hot Cross Buns
Makes 10 buns
- 250gm Bakers Flour
- 30gm Sugar
- 8gm dried yeast
- 20gm Butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 140ml water (approx.)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 50gm dark chocolate chips
- 75gm dried pear chopped.
Paste for the Cross
- 75gm plain flour
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar
- 75ml water.
Place 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 and the pear is evenly distributed in the dough.
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 (approx. 57gms each). Cover the balls with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Rest dough for 5 minutes.
Reshape balls making sure they are smooth and tight 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 and pipe a cross on each bun.
Bake at 200°C for approx 15-18 minutes.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool or, of course, you can hang them from the rafters and cure all manner of illnesses when required.