One of the delights of blogging on WordPress is that there’s an ever changing selection of posts on the front page, and I have found some real gems there. Today’s find was a recipe for hot cross buns, from Butter Sugar Flour, a blogger based in Melbourne. Fantastic – I like using recipes written or adapted by antipodean cooks, because they suit local ingredients, and they are written in terms I understand. I have seen some fabulous recipes from North American and European sites, but the recipes which work for me and my cooking style are the local ones.
I prefer to make my own buns; the store or supermarket bought buns are often hard and cardboardy and flavourless, designed to appeal to a mass palate. Butter Sugar Flour’s recipe looked excellent, but I do regard a recipe as an opinion about which ingredients should be used, and how they should be combined, rather than a hard and fast rule that must be followed. So I adapted her recipe slightly, adding about a tablespoon of exceedingly strong coffee, and using brown sugar instead of white, both in order to get a lovely, brown coloured bun. I didn’t have mixed spice on hand, so I used ginger, nutmeg and a bit of allspice in addition to the cinnamon. I contemplated some almond essence, but decided against it.
In the spirit of Easter, that is, appropriating existing feasts and festivals to your own purposes, I made not hot cross buns, but hot atheist buns. Instead of piping macabre crosses on each one, I made atheist “A”s, ‘though not in scarlet. I didn’t think the food colouring would survive the baking process. The sharp-eyed reader will notice that the buns are in a checker pattern, half with currants and sultanas and glace (candied) peel, and half without; the little godless heathens in my house don’t like dried fruit.
And the finished product, hot from the oven, dripping with butter, full of flavour and with a beautiful texture. Perfect with a cup of coffee, and just the right way to mark Good Friday.