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Hot X: Algebra Exposed

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Super-soft and squidgy eaten straight out of the pack, but even more decadent toasted and smothered with melting butter, these Good Housekeeping Institute taste-approved treats are a must-try this year. You may want to run a fire safety talk or show people how to use the equipment safely, such as for cooking or chopping ingredients, or you may need to remind everyone about ways to be safe around a campfire. Filled with apple compote, juicy sultanas and a hint of cinnamon, our Bramley apple hot cross buns taste great served toasted with butter. Supermarkets love to stretch the traditional period these glorious buns are available, but when you go to bakeries and to home kitchens, they are still only made in a relatively short window. Each bun is decorated with a cross made from flour paste, which represents the cross on which Christ died.

Mix 75g plain 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. By effort, I don't mean you need to be hugely active or expert to make these; you just need the patience to sit around while they rise and the faith to believe they will. No-knead Hot Cross Buns are exactly as the name says – Hot Cross Buns that are made without kneading the dough. Knead the bowl either by hand or with a machine with a dough hook; if it is too dry add a little more warm milk or water.

Sponges can be “overnight”, and left to ferment for several hours, or this recipe uses what is sometimes known as a “flying sponge”, which is left for a much shorter time. Shape each piece of dough into a ball then space equally onto two lightly greased baking sheets – six per sheet. Here, you mix a proportion of your flour with the yeast and liquid (milk, in this instance), and leave it to ferment for a period of time.

Set aside for 15 minutes, then drizzle with sticky toffee sauce and serve warm with ice cream or cream. Form into a ball and place in a buttered bowl covered with clingfilm, and leave to prove overnight in the fridge.If someone’s struggling with the baking section of this activity, they could work with a partner, so they can help each other. Fill the bun with sliced avocado, griddled halloumi, an oozy fried egg, coriander leaves and a little sriracha for a spicy kick. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball, evenly spacing them out on the tray as you go. Place the buns onto a greased tray, cover them with plastic wrap, then leave in a warm place to rise while an adult volunteer heats the Dutch oven. I mixed them in the Thermomix last night, transferred the dough to a glass bowl and put it in the fridge.

Caution is needed when in contact with items that have been heated and young people should use them under adult supervision. This particular recipe is adapted from one that Clive used to teach on our baking courses at Frampton on Severn, which is perfect for a traditional, classic hot cross bun. Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the outer edges of the dough into the middle, doing this a few times to create some tension, pinching the seam to seal. Spices – All Spice is my default, but I also use Mixed Spice too and no one would ever know the difference. Don’t skip cooling the buns – I know, I know, you want to rip into these buns when they’re fresh out of the oven.

Butter the hot cross bun halves and arrange the slices in the prepared baking dish with the crusts facing up, nestling slices of banana in between.

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