A British Easter.... Adopted

Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be

Hot Cross Orange Buns

I am not going to write another post waxing eloquent (yes, I do think so) about


, so on and so forth. Truth be told, I choose to hold on to only those bits of traditions that relate to food...conveniently, as one may point out. However, especially off-late, I have peeling the layers of the self-ordained distance that I had, previously, maintained with any form of ritualistic habit and realised, that.. well, there is some

beauty in following what has been for centuries

even if, just for the fun of it.

For better or worse, I am not very familiar with too many traditions of my own culture. The one thing that stayed with me is common theme that runs across the various festivals, irrespective of the deity that each was devoted to, viz. mom makes a lot of yummy food which is then offered up for prayer, delightfully consumed and more importantly,

generously exchanged with neighbors

along with a ton of good wishes.

Snack time - Orange buns with homemade mandarin jam

Funny that it is essentially the same logic in all religions and all cultures. We never celebrated Easter at home but I did indeed, through my very British escapes via Enid Blyton's happy leisure reads. I would be lost in the latest adventure of the Famous Five and dreaming about biting into a freshly baked bun just like did on their picnics which, inevitably, turned into something more :)

Or perhaps, it the curiosity of history and the desire to seek your avenger that fuels my constant pull across the ocean to the imperial and her customs. Today, I am choosing to celebrate Good Friday and Easter. The best way I know to celebrate is by creating in the kitchen and sharing it with near and dear. With all that English prologue, it isn't surprising that I decided to go with the

quintessentially British, Hot Cross Buns


Given the English influence in the country, I did grow up learning the famous nursery rhyme on the said buns, although it held absolutely no meaning to any of us, not being able to relate to either the buns or the currency!


My version here is a confluence of two recipes that I have wanted to try for a while and takes advantage of the last of the citrus season. I adapted Jamie Oliver's (well.. I stay true to Brit!) recipe for the banana-honey bread for the orange twist and increased the liquid content to make the fluffier version that is typical of these Good Friday buns.

Photo Composition Note:

Today was a busy day and I finally got to working on the art piece for my home. The buns were baked in the midst of the chaos and I chose to take advantage of the contrast between the

artistic disarray of my paints and the tidy arrangement of the buns

.. :)

Hot Cross Orange Buns

For the buns:

400 g strong organic flour

150 ml fresh squeezed orange juice

150 ml water, at 110F

12 g dry active yeast

2 T butter, room temperature

2 T honey

2 T sugar

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup chopped almonds

1/3 cup chopped dried apricots

1/3 cup raisins

zest of 1 orange

1 egg for egg wash

For the crosses:

2 T white flour

2 T cold water

For the glaze:

1 tsp orange jam or apricot jam

1 tsp water

Dissolve the yeast, sugar and salt into the warm water. Set aside the mixture for five minutes and then mix the orange juice with the yeast mixture. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the liquid mixture into it. Gently bring in the flour from the walls in circles and incorporate into the liquid to form a soft dough. Knead the dough until it forms a tacky and not sticky ball. Fold in the butter to form a well greased dough.

Place the dough ball in a well oiled bowl that allows of 2.5 times volume. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour or until doubled in volume. This is the first proof. Gently degas the dough and knead again. Add the nuts and fruits and knead again. Let the dough proof a second time, for about 30 or minutes. Degas the dough again. Pinch a handful of dough and roll into a ball. You should be able to make 12 balls out of the dough.

Place the balls about half inch apart in a pan or tray, cover with towel and proof for the third and last time for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix the flour and water and fill a piping bag to make the crosses. Whisk an egg with a bit of milk to make the egg wash and brush the tops of the buns. Carefully, pipe crosses on the buns and bake for 15 minutes until golden on top.

Warm the jam and water to make the glaze. Brush the buns with the glaze and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool on the rack for a few minutes but eat it warm.