Easter dinner has changed for me over the years. Of course in my childhood it was all about the hunting. Someone else was in charge of the food. Then I had my own children which came with the excitement of egg dying and Easter baskets. I planned and prepared the Easter dinner. This year even my little girls are big girls. No one wanted to dye eggs. I hard boiled eggs and was ready to dye, but it didn’t happen. The two oldest girls couldn’t come home so it was four of us. I chose to do brunch and a later dinner. Brunch was Hot Cross buns and a sample board, more than just a cheese board.
Hot Cross Buns is something I have wanted to make for years. I have never eaten Hot Cross Buns before, but have read enough about them that I knew what to expect. Similarly, I knew what I did not want to experience in a Hot Cross Bun, so the recipe had to be just right.
My initial plan was to make an egg dish and a cheese board. It’s important to be flexible in life, so that as the wind blows you can bend with it. Knowing that the Hot Cross Buns would be ready after church I opted for a large sample platter. It was full of plenty of good things over and above cheese that would keep everyone satisfied until dinner.
My sample board consisted of goat cheese with honey and pecans, herbed cheese spread, and cheddar. It had 3 kinds of crackers and assorted nuts. There were strawberries and blackberries on the board as well as mixed olives and chocolate. A pickled egg, Coho salmon, and tomato tulips rounded out the board.
Everyone loved it. I had enough of a mixture that everyone was able to pick out something to eat along with Hot Cross Buns. Also, because there was no real mess to clean up it didn’t impede my dinner making. The girls and The Hubs could continue to nibble on crackers, nuts, and Easter candy all afternoon.
The Hot Cross Buns were tasty. They will be a wonderful addition to Easter every year. I’m still a little bummed that we did not dye Easter eggs this year. I am not pushing for anything, but I know one day I will have grandchildren to dye eggs with me. Not too soon, though.
What are some of your Easter traditions? Have they changed as your family has changed, possibly grown up and moved out? Maybe you have teenagers in your home who are too old to dye Easter eggs. Next year I think I will dye them by myself.
Hot Cross Buns
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 (1/4 ounce packages))
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 large egg (separated)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (more if needed)
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup currants (plumped in the microwave and cooled)
For the icing
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar (sifted)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Combine the water and milk in a large glass measuring cup. Microwave in short bursts to bring to 110 degrees. Sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar and flour over the surface of the warm milk mixture. Set aside without stirring, until foamy. Whisk the butter, egg yolk and vanilla into the yeast mixture.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center of the flour and add in the yeast mixture. Using a flat beater or the dough hook on low mix to make a thick, shaggy, and slightly sticky dough. Make sure the dough hook is attached and beat for about 5 minutes on medium high. Add in more flour if necessary. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead in currants. Dough should be soft and elastic. Shape into a ball.
- Oil or butter the inside of the mixer bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to coat lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
- To form the rolls: Butter a 9 by 14-inch baking sheet. Turn the dough out of the bowl and pat into a rectangle about 16 by 8 inches. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Portions should be roughly 2 ounces each.
- Preheat to 375 degrees.
- Tuck the edges of the dough under to make round rolls and place them seam-side down in the prepared pan. Leave space in between each roll. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a lint free towel and set in a warm place until the rolls have more than doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Remove the covering and brush the tops of the buns with beaten egg white. Bake rolls until golden brown and puffy, about 25 minutes.
- For the glaze: Stir together confectioners’ sugar milk until smooth. Spoon icing into a pastry bag, or a zip top bag and make a small cut in the corner of the bag. Ice a thick cross shape over the top of the warm buns.