Happy Easter x

A very happy Easter to you all xx

I thought it would be appropriate today to mark the beginning of the Easter weekend with a festive recipe!! I came across Paul Holywood’s recipe for hot cross buns last week and then watched him prepare them with the same recipe on the Easter special of The Great British Bake-off Masterclass this week, which only cemented my determination to try them out for myself x

This is my first attempt at hot cross buns and I have to say I don’t think I will be buying them from now on!! They are gorgeous!!! Super tasty and they leave the house smelling amazing!!

Hot cross buns

 Ingredients:

For the buns:

  • 300ml full-fat milk , plus 2 tbsp more
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 apple , peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

 For the cross:

  • 75g plain flour , plus extra for dusting

 For the glaze:

  • 3 tbsp apricot jam

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Method:

  1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast  into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
  2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
  3. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.
  4. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.
  5. Heat oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses. Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  6. Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.

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I enjoyed mine straight from the oven with just a little butter along with a nice cup of tea, simple but effective x

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For me it wouldn’t be Easter without hot cross buns, but I realise that many of you are from other parts of the world with possibly very different Easter traditions and foods that you eat and share to celebrate! I’d love to hear about it x

What will you be making this weekend to celebrate Easter?

I’m off to hard boil and decorate some eggs now to roll on Sunday, ta ta xx

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Strawberry cloud cake

I came across this intriguing recipe a couple of weeks ago for a cake that is frozen and just had to try it out for myself, just purely for research purposes you understand…….haha x And I loved it…………Mmmmmmmm………it just melts in your mouth!! I highly recommend it to you all x

Ingredients:

  • 150g plain sweet biscuits (I used Honey Grahams)
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • 1½tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g butter, melted

filling: 

  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 250g (1 punnet) ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Line the base of a 26-28cm spring form cake tin with baking paper or waxed paper. This makes it easy to lift the cake out later.
  2. Make the base by putting the biscuits in a brown paper bag and crushing them into crumbs by beating carefully with a rolling pin. Pour the crumbs into a medium bowl and add the coconut, cinnamon and melted butter. Stir well to combine.
  3. Press firmly into the base of the prepared tin. It doesn’t need to be a thick layer – just enough to cover the bottom of the tin. Refrigerate the base while you prepare the filling.
  4. Place egg whites, sugar, sliced strawberries, lemon juice and vanilla in the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer.
  5. Beat on high speed for about 6-8 minutes until the mixture is very thick and fluffy and the sugar has dissolved. To test whether it is ready, rub a bit of the mixture between your fingers. You should not feel any gritty sugar – if you do, beat a little longer.
  6. Spoon the filling over the chilled base, smooth the top, cover with a sheet of baking paper and freeze for at least 4 hours. Then add some decoratively cut strawberries to the top.
  7. To serve, cut cake into wedges using a knife that has been warmed in hot water.

This was me enjoying a slice along with my my first ever cup of Lady grey tea. It melts really quickly, so I had to eat it fast! Well that was my excuse and I’m still standing by it x