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Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns come to us from mediaeval England where they were eaten on Good Friday. This receipt gives a traditional more flat bun rather than the large, puffy rolls that are generally available to-day.
Ingredients
1 cake compressed yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 cup milk
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted shortening
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup candied fruit
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
3 1/2 - 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Directions
Crumble the yeast into the lukewarm water. Measure the milk, corn syrup, salt, shortening and lemon rind into a mixing bowl; heat until the mixture is lukewarm. Beat in the dissolved yeast and the egg; add the raisins. Beat in 2 cups of flour; stir till smooth. Add the remaining flour; mix well. Turn on a floured board, shape into a ball and knead lightly. Place in an oiled bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place till double in bulk (about 2 hours). Turn on a floured board and knead to release gas bubbles. Shape into 18 medium-sized buns; place on an oiled cookie sheet about 2” apart. Cover and again let rise (about 1 hour); with the scissors cut a small cross on the top of each bun. Bake 20-25 minutes in a moderately hot oven. Three minutes before baking is completed, remove and brush with 1 tablespoon of sugar dissolved in 2 tablespoons of milk. While still hot, fill the crosses with icing made with icing sugar and hot water. 
Notes
  • The basic recipe is from Kate Aitken’s Cookbook published in 1945 by the Montreal Standard newspaper.
  • Cakes of yeast are no longer available so I used two envelopes (8 grams each) of dry yeast.
  • I have had trouble with yeast previously likely because I got things too hot. This time, I used a thermometer to make sure that “lukewarm” was 100ºF and no more.
  • I covered the dough with plastic wrap to let it rise.
  • I warmed the oven to 180ºF, turned the oven off, and let the dough rise there.
  • The cookie sheet measured 12” X 18”
  • I have trouble with stuff like this burning on the bottom, so I put a second cookie sheet (as a heat shield) under the sheet holding the buns. I used 400ºF; but our oven is a bit slow. Perhaps try 380ºF ?
  • I made icing using 1 cup of icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of hot milk. 

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