Cross your heart

This week has been mental. My hands and arms have just been driving me mad, sounds really odd but I’ve just had issues with them being very numb and sore all week. Thankfully I can feel a little improvement today so am hoping it will just go away soon. There’s only so much gel you can rub on one arm.

I’m actually in work today as I have a lot of study to get through, blurgh. Hilariously, as part of one of my assignments, I had to do a video of myself about disaster. I can’t even look at it nevermind listen to it – such a sly eye! It took me well over an hour to get one 6 minute video so progress is slow here today. The office is really bright and quiet though so it’s actually nice to be in rather than trying to do it at home today.

I really wanted to share this bake with you in time for Easter though – it actually is amazing and I was really proud of it. The recipe is in the Easter edition of Delicious  magazine and I have just slightly tweaked things. Delicious is actually one of my favourite magazines to buy though as I do think you get a good range of recipes..some food magazines just become too “foodie”, dare I say!

To change things up a little bit, I added apricots, blueberries and dried cranberries to this as well as a mix of Christmas like spices. I just think the colours look nice and more spring like than just raisins.
This recipe does take time though so I really recommend making it today or tomorrow. That way you’ll be ready to wow everyone when you break it out on Easter Sunday!

Right, you need:
For the buns:
500g strong white flour
1/2 tsp salt
75g caster sugar
10g fast action yeast
175ml milk
1 large free range egg, beaten
75g softened butter
75g dried blueberries
75g dried cranberries and apricots (mixed)
75g lemon peel
75g sultanas
1 large orange zested
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ginger
For the Cross:
25g plain flour
1 tsp sunflower oil
3 tbsp cold water
For the glaze:
100ml water
100g caster sugar
juice of one orange
Okay so lets take this recipe bit by bit. The first thing you need to do is to make the enriched dough. There is no need for a mixer here, you’ll be able to get on fine with just your hands.
Firstly, weigh out and sift the flour, salt, butter, sugar and yeast into a bowl. Make a hole in the centre and add the beaten egg. Cover the egg with flour. 
Next, warm the milk gently. You just need it to be warm, not hot. Be careful.
Add the milk to the bowl and bring everything together with your hands. Knead on a clean board until smooth and soft. If it’s too dry, add a tiny bit of water.  I would recommend kneading this for about 10 minutes here.
Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover. This needs to prove now for about an hour and a half. 
Once the dough has grown (about double), tip it out of the bowl and knock the air out. Stretch it out and add all the chopped fruit, peel and spices. Knead it to bring it all together. This is almost the worst bit as bits of fruit go everywhere, keep at it and eventually all will come together. This should take about 10 minutes again. Get all that frustration out on this dough!
After the fruit has been combined, the dough needs to rest again for another hour so pop it back in the bowl and cover it again. It’ll smell good though!
Now you’re nearly ready to go. Grab your big loaf tin and grease it all over with butter. Don’t be shy with it, the loaf needs to be able to get out easily. 
Get your dough and divide it into 10 balls – try and weigh them so they’re nearly all the same size.
Place the dough balls into the tin in pairs as if you’re lining them up, 2 across, 5 back.
This needs to rise again (I know..I know) for another hour until the balls have grown and are at the top of the tin.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
To make the crosses on top, mix the flour, oil and water together and pop in a piping bag. When the loaf looks ready to go into the oven, just pipe a cross on each ball.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until nicely browned.
When ready, take out and leave it cool in the tin for a couple of minutes before taking it out and leaving it on a baking tray.
To make the syrup, just boil the water,sugar and orange juice together for a couple of minutes. Grab a pastry brush and cover the entire loaf with the syrup. This is a crucial step – do NOT skip it. Otherwise, the loaf won’t be sweet on the first bite.
Serve it up with salted, Irish butter and a big pot of tea. Or you could even serve it up with some bacon which seems to be a growing trend this year.
Hope you enjoy it! It makes a very impressive gift and might be a welcome break from chocolate..maybe. If you don’t eat it all on Sunday, slice it up and pop it in the freezer for a later date.
Sinéad x

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