I vowed to make my own hot cross buns this year. I made a cheat's version with some kids at school this past week and have been itching for the weekend (and holidays) to arrive to get stuck into the real deal. I had been planning on making a basic recipe that features on the cover of a cooking magazine this month...but then I found Dan Lepard's recipe for Spiced Stout Buns. Dark rich stout (I used Meantime, brewed in Greenwich), spices and loads of dried fruit...they sounded like the perfect treat.
And the perfect treat they are! It took a while to make these gorgeous buns. You have to mix up a sponge the night before and leave the fruit to soak (meaning that you have to have thought ahead) and then the kneading and rising and shaping and rising and baking took a good 2.5 hours. By the end I was starving, my parents were starving...but they were well worth the wait! Slathered with butter right out of the oven is most definitely the ultimate way to eat hot cross buns.
The recipe makes about 20 decent sized buns. I clearly told everyone drooling over them that 6 were reserved for the freezer...only so that I can have some actually ON EASTER. My dad managed to polish off 3 yesterday...high praise indeed!