Is it just me, or does holiday baking seem to revolve around a lot of dried fruit? Currants and mixed peel for Christmas tarts, dried cranberry stuffing for Thanksgiving turkeys and for Easter, raisin-studded hot cross buns… Mind you, it’s not like I’m complaining. Some of my best friends are raisins.
Every year I make it a point to bake my own hot cross buns. Most years, I experiment with new recipes and last year, I made these which I actually still remember quite fondly. This year, I’ve only managed to find time to try one recipe.
But what a recipe it is. Dan Lepard’s recipe for spiced stout buns have a fantastic crumb and great depth of flavour from the use of stout (James Squire Porter, in my case) and black tea for soaking the fruit in, as well as a generous quantity of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. They were so tasty, B and I inhaled two each, straight from the oven.
I don’t mean two tiny bite-sized treats either. These are door-stopper sized buns, sticky with sugar glaze and heavy with juicy raisins. Eat two and you may want to consider skipping dinner. But eating two was the only way I knew how to adequately explain their deliciousness.
Forget Simnel cake, cookies shaped like bunnies and chickens and forget chocolate Easter eggs (you can get those at half price after Easter anyway). Trust me, all you need is a hot cross bun or two, ripped from a still-warm baker’s dozen, and a pot of hot tea. The rest of the holiday will sweetly unfold.