Friday, 18 April 2014

Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns
Hot cross buns
One a penny,
Two a penny
Hot cross buns

For non-religious types like me, Easter just isn’t Easter without two things. The first, of course, is chocolate eggs and the second is hot cross buns. Who can resist sinking their teeth into a spiced and sticky hot cross bun? Even if they’re not as cheap as they were when their song was written in the 18th Century, why should gluten-dodgers miss out?

Well, fear not, my wheat-dodging friends, I have created a recipe for gluten-free hot cross buns that is sure to get your Easter celebrations back on track. And if you’ve missed Good Friday, just be thankful that Queen Elizabeth I’s decree of 1592 – that they could only be eaten on Good Friday, Christmas, and at funerals – is no longer enforced. You can eat them as often you like, with whomever you like. As the song says,

If you have no daughters
Give them to your sons

Although I’m a bit surprised anyone needed a song to explain that…

Gluten-free Hot Cross Buns

Makes 10

250 g gluten-free plain flour (I used Dove’s)
150g buckwheat flour
70 g caster sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 x sachet of 7g fast action yeast
1 tsp. xanthan gum
225 ml whole milk
60g butter
1 egg, beaten
Sunflower oil, for oiling the bowl
100 g sultanas
30 g mixed peel
The finely grated zest of 1 orange
The finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp. mixed spice
½ tsp. cinnamon
A suspicion of nutmeg

For the cross

50 g gluten-free plain flour
A little water

For the glaze

2 tbsp. smooth apricot jam

Sift the flour into a large bowl and the salt to one side of the bowl and the sugar, yeast and xanthan gum to the other. Make a well in the middle.

Heat the milk and butter together until melted and just warm. Pour the milk and the beaten eggs into the middle of the flour well. Use a fork to start bringing the dry ingredients into the wet and then use your hands to knead the dough lightly until everything is fully incorporated and you have a streak-free dough.

Put the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place (I pop mine in the airing cupboard) for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Add the sultanas, mixed peel, citrus zest, mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg to the bowl and mix into the dough. Cover again with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

Roll the dough into a long sausage and cut into 10 equal-sized portions. Gentle roll each portion into a ball. Place each ball of dough onto a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment, allowing room for spreading. Covering the buns with a clean tea towel and leave to prove for another 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan)/425°F/Gas Mark 7 

Make the cross paste by mixing the flour with just enough water so that you can pipe with it. Spoon the paste into a piping bag and snip off the very tip. Pipe crosses onto each bun and pop them in the oven to bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown.

Melt the jam and liberally glaze each bun and leave to cool.