Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Hot Cross Buns and a glass of Irish Stout

I said that I was finished with Hot Cross Buns, but then Dan Lepard's recipe came along to tempt me.  Soaking the fruit in hot black tea . . . and fermenting the sponge in Irish stout . . .  could there be a better way of celebrating the Irish and the Lenten season? 

My daughter says this is the best batch yet:  lots of fruit and a rich malty flavor.  Is it just my imagination, or does stout have a chocolate bouquet?  Maybe not, but the smell in my kitchen was incredible.

325 ml Irish stout
1 1/2 tsp each of ground ginger, cinnamon and mace (or mixed spice)
1 1/2 tsp dry instant yeast
875 g strong white four
325 g raisins (or currants and sultanas)
175 g mixed peel, or finely chopped dried apricots
250 ml hot black tea
1 large egg
50 g melted butter
50 g caster sugar
1/1/2 tsp salt

The night before, mix the stout, spices, yeast and 325 g flour in a deep bowl.  Put the raisins, peel and tea in another bowl.  (Cover both bowls with cling film.)
Next day, mix the egg and butter with the fruit, then stir into the beer and spice batter.
Mix in 550g flour, the sugar and salt, and leave for 10 minutes.
Lightly oil your hands and patch of worktop or cutting board.
Knead the dough for 10 seconds, leave for 10 minutes, repeat twice more at 10-minute intervals, and then leave for an hour.  If the dough is too sticky, lightly flour the surface of it as you knead.

Divide the dough into 100 g pieces, shape into balls and place, touching, on a tray lined with nonstick paper.  Leave for 90 minutes.
Mix a couple of tablespoons of flour, a tablespoon of caster sugar and enough water to make a pourably thick paste.  Pipe crosses on each ball. 
Bake at 200C/400F for approximately 25 minutes.
While the buns are still hot, brush with a glaze made from a tablespoon each of caster sugar and boiling water.

To your health!

a pale green tulip for St. Patrick's Day


Unknown said...

Hi there, I hope you don't mind me adding a link to Dan Lepard's website, you can find this recipe and his photo of the results - and hundreds more recipes, photos and feature articles -

Char said...

sounds like an interesting recipe to try - hope you had a great day.

Nimble said...

Much more interesting than green beer. I love the idea of the tea soak and I might try this one! I heard a radio story for St. Patrick's day about Irish immigrants in Butte, Montana. Apparently they were the largest group there during the boom copper mining days. But there were miners from all over who settled there. The interviewee said that as a kid he'd learned to swear in lots of different languages.

Anne said...

Oh Bee, these look fabulous. I can't wait to try them. In fact, I might start mine tonight! I'm assuming that "strong flour" is high-protein (bread) flour and that "mixed peel" refers to candied peel.

As for a chocolate bouquet, I suppose it depends on the stout; but yes, I recall chocolate notes in a stout I had last year. And of course there's chocolate stout.

julochka said...

i made these today and i broke lots of the rules in doing so....for one, i didn't leave the raisins & sukat (those candied orange bits) to soak overnight, nor did i give the stout mixture a chance to work overnight. but they did have a good 3-4 hours. then, i mixed up the dough and then it DID get to sit overnight, which turned out quite ok. then, i didn't pipe the paste, but sort of "drew" it on with a grapefruit spoon. it didn't seem like enough paste to warrant getting out the piping equipment. that meant my crosses were a bit wide in the end, but, piping hot out of the oven, they were quite yummy.

i think in the future, i'd actually leave out the raisins and the sukat, as some people in this house turned up their noses at those and to be honest, i'm not the most fond of them myself. the breadiness was really perfect and moist and i loved the flavor of mace, which was fresh from my sister's recent trip to tobago. i think the stout made the rising process go really well and gave such a good, rich maltiness.

dang, i'm kind of doing a recipe review here.

i don't know what hot cross buns should taste like, having never tasted them, but i thought these were very interesting.


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