Try it fresh or toasted, this Easter treat is utterly delicious.
For this recipe the fruit and flavourings are similar to those in traditional hot cross buns, but I’ve made one large loaf instead, which is quicker.
Makes 1 loaf
2 lb (900g) loaf pan, about 81⁄2 x 41⁄2 in (21.5 x 11cm) and 2 1⁄2 in (6cm) deep, 1-quart (1.2 litres) capacity
4 tbsp (50 g) butter
3 oz (85 g) raisins
1 3⁄4 (50 g) natural glacé cherries, rinsed, dried, and chopped
1 oz (30 g) currants
2 1⁄2 cups (450 g) white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
7g packet easy-blend (fast-action) dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1 1⁄2 tsp pumpkin spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄4 cup (50 g) light brown sugar
2⁄3 cup (150 ml) whole or low-fat milk
1 large egg, beaten
sunflower oil, for greasing
For the crosses and glaze
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp granulated sugar
1. Melt the butter and let it cool. Mix the raisins, cherries, and currants in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the bread flour, yeast, salt, spices, and sugar in a separate large bowl. Heat the milk with 5 tablespoons water until hand-warm. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the cooled butter and beaten egg. Add the warm milk and water in a steady stream, while mixing everything together with a butter knife. Gather the dough into a ball.
2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8–10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Lay the dough on top of the dried fruit mix in the bowl and knead together to combine. To finish working in the fruit, turn the dough onto the work surface again and knead for 1–2 minutes. Shape the dough into a round and place it in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about 1 1⁄2 hours or until doubled in size. Lightly grease the loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
3. Turn the risen dough out onto the work surface and knead it just 3 or 4 times. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Shape each one into an oval. Place each piece in the pan in a line. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the dough reaches about 2in (5cm) above the top of the pan. Preheat the oven to 230oC (450oF).
4. For the crosses, make a small piping bag out of parchment paper. Mix the all-purpose flour with 4 1⁄2 teaspoons cold water in a small bowl to make a smooth paste, then spoon it into the piping bag. When the dough has risen, pipe a cross on top of each piece.
5. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 220oC (425oF) and bake for another 15 minutes, covering the top loosely with foil when the top is golden brown. Bake for 5–10 minutes more. The loaf is done when it feels firm.
6. Make the glaze: mix the granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon cold water. Loosen the sides of the loaf with a small, round-bladed knife, then turn out of the pan. Peel off the parchment paper and place the loaf on a wire rack. Brush the glaze over the top of the loaf while it is still warm. Slice when the loaf has cooled completely.
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