Baking

Spiced Pumpkin Hot Cross Buns

Every year I bake a batch of Hot Cross Buns in an unusual flavour such as Salted Caramel just because I think these seasonal buns deserve to be enjoyed other than in their typical dried fruit or chocolate chip form. I’ve got nothing against traditional recipes but sometimes it’s cool to have an old time favourite with a twist.

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I believe I may not have posted about last year’s efforts. I recall trying to make a gluten free version of Hot Cross Buns and failed miserably. This year, I decided to use a blend of wheat and spelt flour to make my buns. It’s only once a year so I can certainly cope with some gluten since I’m not actually coeliac.

As for flavour, I had a lot of ideas this year. I nearly made a Tiramisu Hot Cross Bun but with so much pumpkin sitting in my fridge without a party to go to, I decided to make a spiced pumpkin bun.

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Using pumpkin in baking is nothing new but it’s important to roast your pumpkin before adding it to any batter or dough. Roasting not only brings out extra flavour but it also dehydrates the pumpkin sufficiently so as to not add extra moisture to your mixture. Very, very important.

This time I also followed the suggestion given in my past Hot Cross Bun recipes about leaving the dough to rest in the fridge overnight before baking. I wasn’t so much being experimental as finding myself running out of time to bake during the day. The dough really did benefit from the stint in the fridge though and the end result was amazing. Lots of flavour and wonderful fluffiness :)

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I just might have to make up another batch of dough and bake a fresh serving of buns for tomorrow. Happy Easter everyone!

Spiced Pumpkin Hot Cross Buns

3/4 cup of diced pumpkin, roasted until cooked through

120 ml milk
80g butter
1 egg
3 cups of plain flour (I used 2 cups plain and 1 cup white spelt flour)
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
50 ml apple cider (optional – or increase milk to 180ml)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg or all spice (or both!)

1/4 cup plain flour, extra

2 tbsp sugar dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water for glazing

To Make: Gently warm milk and butter over a low heat until butter melts and mixture is tepid (Speed 2 on 37C for 1.5 minutes, if using Thermomix). Add roasted pumpkin and blend with milk/butter mixture until smooth (Speed 5 for 5 seconds, scraping down and blitzing again for another 5 seconds). Add egg to milk mixture and whisk (Speed 3 for a few seconds). Add flour, sugar, yeast, spices, cider and pinch of salt and use dough hook to knead for 5 minutes or Knead function on TMX for 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size. You can elect at this point to put the dough in fridge overnight for a morning bake (remove dough from fridge at least 20 minutes before following step). If baking immediately, knock back dough and cut into 8 equal pieces. Knead each piece into a ball, place in a lightly greased 22cm-square cake pan, cover with a damp tea towel and stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 220C (200C fan-forced). Combine 1/4 cup flour and 2 tbsp water and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon flour paste into a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle and pipe lines down each row to form crosses. You can also use a zip-lock bag with a corner snipped off at a pinch. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 200C and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden. (They’re ready when they sound hollow when tapped). Once out of oven, use a pastry brush to glaze buns with some sugar dissolved in hot water.

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