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Easter is one of my favourite times of the year.
There is something much more relaxing about Easter than there is about Christmas.
Plus it’s great to have a break isn’t it… Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays here in the UK.
One of my favourite foodie things about Easter is… shock horror, NOT Easter Eggs… but freshly baked Easter treats!
There are two in particular that I like and am going to share recipes with you for.
One is Hot Cross Buns.
The other is Simnel Cake.
I honestly can take or leave all the chocolate at Easter – which if you know me well is a shocker of a statement – but I would feel robbed without Hot Cross Buns.
Not the Hot Cross Buns the supermarkets are full of, but proper homemade buns, which are simply delicious on Good Friday morning… or any other morning for that matter.
I love Simnel Cake as well – all that surprise marzipan in the middle of dense fruit is just the best!
If you fancy some traditional English baking this Easter and you’ve not made Hot Cross Buns or Simnel Cake before, the recipes for both are below.
Both recipes are adapted from the The Cookery of England by Elisabeth Ayrton, a fabulous compendium of old English recipes that is sadly out of print, but which you can pick up pretty easily second hand.
Traditional Easter baking recipes
Hot Cross Buns
- 500g / 2 cups of strong white flour
- A pinch of salt & a teaspoon each of cinnamon & mixed spice
- 60g / 0.25 cups of butter
- 60g / 0.25 cups of currants
- 60g / 0.25 cups of yeast
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- About 1/2 pint milk
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons plain flour
- Sieve the flour, salt and spices
- Rub the butter into the flour & spices until bread crumb consistency
- Stir in the currants
- Warm a little of the milk and mix with the yeast and a snatch of sugar
- Pour the yeast into the middle of the flour, covering it lightly with more flour
- Leave for 10 mins
- Mix the egg in to make a stiff dough, adding a little milk as needed
- Knead the dough lightly and then leave covered for about an hour until doubled in size
- Pre-heat oven to 425 f / 220 c
- Split the dough into small bun size balls (the dough will rise again)
- Cut a deep cross in each bun and leave to rise by half again (about half an hour)
- Make a paste of flour and water and pipe into the crosses made earlier
- Bake at 425 for 5 to 10 mins
- Melt sugar in 1 tablespoon milk and brush over buns
- 150g / 0.6 cups butter
- 120g / 0.5 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons golden syrup
- 240g / 1 cup flour
- 360g / 1.5 cup dried fruit
- 30g / 0.1 cups candied peel
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 500g / 2 cups almond paste
- Preheat the oven to 300f / 150c
- Grease a 10 inch cake tin
- Cream butter and sugar together well
- Add warmed syrup to beaten eggs and stir in into creamed butter & sugar
- Mix flour, dried fruit, candied peel and spices together and fold in
- Mixture should be fairly dense but you might need a little extra milk
- Put half the mixture in the tin
- Roll out half the almond paste into a circle that will fit inside the tin about 1/4 inch thick
- Put the almond paste on top of the cake mixture in the tin and press down well
- Add the rest of the cake mixture on top of the almond paste
- Bake for just over 2 hours – it should be well risen and firm
- When the cake has completely cooled, roll out the rest of the almond paste into a circle to fit on top of the cake, (not down the sides), and then put the cake under the grill to very slightly brown the almond paste
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