A Happy Easter / Spring Break to you all! I've been wanting to revisit my Hot Cross Buns for awhile now as I made my first ones there with egg replacer, something I no longer bake with. You may remember I made those with only raisins in them as I can't stand peel in my baked goods. I mean does anyone really like peel? It's like one of those ingredients we have in Christmas cake and hot cross buns more out of tradition than taste.
This time I decided to go a step further and axe the raisins. I do love raisins in baked goods but my son is not too keen and after I saw some Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns in Marks and Spencer's the other day that was it. I had to make these! So I first went about making my previously posted hot cross buns without the egg replacer and with apple instead.
Sadly, looks are all these had going for them as they were really dry :-( BUT they did have great flavour....So, it was back to the kitchen for me the next day. This time I couldn't stop thinking about my Pull Apart Rolls and how wonderfully moist and light and fluffy they are. This was a no-brainer - combine the flavours of the hot cross bun with the pull-apart rolls.
Success!! These taste fantastic and have amazing texture - slightly crisp on the outside and moist, light and fluffy inside. See?
Now, just like I mentioned in my first hot cross bun post I much prefer the cross in icing rather than in dough - it's my sweet tooth :-) The apple and cinnamon flavours in this one just calling out for a hint of maple in the glaze. Combining maple syrup with icing sugar may sound like a sugar catastrophe but trust me it works just fine here as you are only getting a little bit of glaze on each bun and it's just the right amount of sweetness.
If I have any complaint it's only that I would like more apple in them but there is only so much apple you can cram into the dough before it rises and this is pretty much the maximum. Once the dough rises there is a lot more room for apple but then it's too late to add more. You still get the odd nice juicy bit of apple though, so it's all good!
Apple and Cinnamon Pull Apart Hot Cross Buns with Maple Icing:
280g extra strong white bread flour (2 cups)
1 sachet quick yeast - 7g
30g vegan butter (2 Tbsp)
50g brown sugar (1/4 cup, lightly packed) I used light muscovado sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
175ml unsweetened soy milk
1 large apple, peeled and diced smallish
~ you may need up to 1/4 cup or 35g more flour as well ~
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp golden caster sugar (or regular sugar)
tiny pinch of cinnamon, I used the end tip of a sharp knife to measure.
50g icing sugar (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp)
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 teaspoon unsweetened soy milk
Add the soy milk, vegan butter and brown sugar to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. When the butter and sugar have melted turn off the heat and add the vanilla then transfer to a measuring jug to cool. I used a thermometer here as you want it to get to between 120 - 130F before adding to the yeast. If you don't have a thermometer you should be able to just leave your finger in the mixture comfortably. Quick yeast needs the liquid to be slightly warmer than active dry yeast which gets dissolved in warm water first.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, or in a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. When the liquid is at the right temperature add to the bowl with the flour and with the dough attachment knead for 10 minutes. If doing by hand stir the liquid into the flour then transfer to a floured surface and knead for about 15 minutes. Either way add some more flour, you shouldn't need more than 35g or 1/4 cup if the mixture is too sticky. When there is a few minutes left remove from the mixer and transfer to a floured surface. Start to add the apple, bit by bit and knead it into the dough. This sounds trickier than it actually is, just take your time and all the apple will get in there! Keep gently kneading until all the apple is in and you have a round ball of dough.
Take a large clean bowl, I like to have hot water sitting in mine to get the bowl warm first, I then dump out the water and dry it well then grease the bowl before adding the dough. Cover with cling film and place in a warm place to double in size for 1 hour.
Remove and punch down the dough, give it a couple of kneads then roll out to a log shape and slice into 8 equal segments. Give each of these segments another little knead then shape into a round ball. You may need a bit more flour here as the apple would have released a little liquid. Slice a cross into the top of each ball with a very sharp knife then place in a greased 7" high sided, loose bottom cake pan, or similar.
Cover again with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise again for half an hour. By then they should have gotten quite bigger and be swelling against each other:
Preheat the oven to 220C / 425F remove the cling film and pop in the oven for 15 minutes. They should be golden brown, risen a bit more and sound hollow if you tap them underneath.
Remove from the pan, mine was loose bottomed so I just place a can of beans underneath and slid the sides down then used a spatula to remove the whole plate of rolls onto a wire rack.
I also wanted to see how this recipe fared making traditional individual rolls and it worked perfectly. After the first rise and you have shaped them into rolls do not cut them at this stage, just lay them out on a lined baking sheet, cover loosely with cling film and again leave to rise for about 1/2 hour. Now cut the crosses on top and bake as per instructions. Let cool and slowly drizzle the thick glaze over the cut cross.
♥ They also bake up beautifully as individual rolls ♥
Now, I usually brush my hot cross buns just out of the oven with warmed seived apricot jam and that is what I used on the first attempt you see. It does give a nice shiny, glossy finish but can leave them a bit sticky. This time I decided to use the more traditional sugar syrup glaze but with a tiny pinch of cinnamon added. The pull apart rolls may not look very glossy though as I was in a rush and miscalculated the amount of water and essentially just brushed water over and not a syrup! Ooops... As you can see from the individual rolls I made the next day the syrup (done properly) leaves the buns nice and glossy.
Leave them to cool then make up the maple glaze by simply stirring everything together. It should be runny but at the same time fairly thick. Spoon some of the icing up, let the first blob fall back into the bowl then run the icing over the marked 'X's on the buns. Dont' worry if it gets a bit messy and it is supposed to fall into the gaps between the buns - it all adds to the flavour!
Leave the icing a bit to set then pull out a roll and slice - see the lovely texture?
As with all hot cross buns, these are best toasted and slathered with vegan butter. With the icing on these the best way to do these is in the oven under the grill.
While they are toasting get your tea or coffee ready and enjoy :-)
Nutritional Information: based on 1 bun.
Sat Fat: 0.7g
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