Hot Cross Buns

 I haven’t had much time to relax at home and bake in a while now. I woke up on a mission this morning to bake hot cross buns for my mother in law Helen. I can’t believe it’s that time of year again! Helen really enjoys hot cross buns. I’ve always purchased them at work it’s so easy to just pick up a package. I had them in my hand yesterday but decided to bake them myself knowing I had the next day off. I made hot cross buns for the fist time last year and was thrilled with the results. Today I pulled out my old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and followed that recipe. I’m so glad I decided to make the effort. It was so rainy here today. The perfect way to relax on my day off.  My Husband  Joe will deliver the buns to Mom tomorrow. I hope she enjoys them as much as I enjoyed making them.





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Hot Cross Buns And Snow

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My snowy backyard.

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I was at the book store one day last week and to my delight my eyes came upon a new magazine: SIFT, a King Arthur Publication. As I thumbed my way through I saw beautiful pictures of bread, muffins, cakes, biscuits, pizza, sandwiches, gluten free baked goods, and a section on a Mediterranean feast. The photos all looked so appealing, but one picture really had my attention: hot cross buns. I was hoping to make hot cross buns for the upcoming Easter season this year to share with my Mother-In-Law Helen. She just loves hot cross buns and buys them every year. I read over the ingredients and method for preparing the dough and the baking. I happily purchased my new magazine and couldn’t wait to bake the buns. Later that week we had a snow storm and I knew it was the perfect day for baking. The recipe called for either apple juice or rum, and I had rum on hand so I used that. It also called for mixed dried fruit, and I used a mixture of golden raisins and California raisins. I chose to mix the dough by hand instead of the mixer. When baking bread at home in such a small batch I love to get my hands in it. The dough was easy to mix and the process was relaxing. I did some reading during the rise times. It was so hard waiting for those buns to cool, but I wanted to enjoy the little taste of icing piped on the top to get the whole experience of the tasting. It was worth the wait! The bun was soft and tender. The fruit was tasty with the infusion of the rum, and who doesn’t love the taste of icing? I love the buns and the magazine. I will be patiently awaiting the next issue, but ‘till then there’s lots more great recipes in this issue to try.

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Lemon Puffs

 

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These little beauties are lemon puffs. I’ve already shared with you in my last post how to prepare the lemon curd which fills the flaky layers of baked puff pastry. The baked sugary puff pastry has a flaky crunch as you bite down and then you taste the smooth but tart lemon curd. The whipped cream is the cherry on top. It is a very refreshing bite or two, it won’t take you long to eat and you’ll wish you could start over. The lemon puffs are so pretty; anyone would think they had taken hours to prepare. They look just beautiful on a dessert tray line with a white paper doily. These lemon puffs will make your next tea party or any occasion extra special. I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.

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Gather your ingredients.

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Roll your puff pastry just slightly and trim the ends to make the pastry even. Then measure 2″x 4″ pieces.

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Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Egg wash and sprinkle one pan with sugar one pan plain. Bake in a pre-heated 4oo degree oven 10-12 minutes. Till golden brown.

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Remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Assemble by putting a layer of lemon curd on a plain baked puff pastry. Top with a baked sugared puff pastry. Dust with powdered sugar , top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Sprinkle on a little freshly grated lemon zest.

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Lemon Puffs

2 sheets of puff pastry, I use Pepperidge Farm

1 egg beaten with a few drops of water for egg wash

Lemon curd

Freshly whipped whip cream

Lemon zest to sprinkle over whipped cream

To prepare the puff pasrty

Sprinkle a little flour on a work surface and rolling pin. Roll the puff pastry even. With a ruler cut the pastry 2”wide by 4” long place pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a pastry brush apply egg wash to the tops of the pastry. Then sprinkle half with sugar and leave half plain. The plain will be the bottoms and sugared will be the tops. Makes 15 lemon puffs

Lemon Curd

8 oz. unsalted butter

1 pound granulated sugar

5 lemons, grated zest and juice from all of the lemons

6 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks, beaten

Cook over double boiler water should just be simmering. Melt the butter then add the sugar, juice and zest from the lemons. Slowly add the eggs stirring constantly about 20 minutes. The mix will become thick and get thicker as it cools.

Fresh Whipped Cream

8 oz. heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To Assemble

Place the plain piece of baked puff pastry on a plate top with lemon curd. Place the sugared piece of baked puff pastry on the top. Sift on a small dusting of confectioner’s sugar. Add a dollop of the fresh whip cream to the top and a sprinkle of fresh lemon zest.

Bakers note: If you want less puff pastry you can cut one piece in half and fill with the lemon curd and top with the cream.

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