Juice of one large orange and zest of 2 oranges
¼ c boiling water
2 c dried cranberries
1¼ c milk, warmed slightly
2 large eggs
3 tsp vanilla essence
6 Tbsp butter
3 tsp instant yeast
½ c sugar
4 tsp spice mix (ground cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg)
½ tsp each ground black pepper and chilli powder (optional)
1 tsp salt
7 c white flour
FOR THE TOPPING
1 c flour
7½ Tbsp water
FOR THE SUGAR SYRUP
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp boiling water
1. Heat milk and butter until butter melted. Whisk in eggs. Leave to cook until room temperature then sprinkle over yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 tablespoon flour. Leave to go frothy for 10 mins.
2. Combine the orange juice, zest and cranberries in a small bowl and pour boiling water over the top. Leave to soak whilst you get on with the rest of the prep.
3. Combine 6 cups of the flour and remainder of dry ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Make a well in the middle of dry ingredients. Pour milk mix and soaked (not drained) cranberry mix into well. Mix with wooden spoon until well combined. The mixture should be a little bit wet and very sticky.
5. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes adding flour to create kneadable sticky dough.
6. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl (use the one you just make the mix in) and cover. Let rise for 1 - 2 hours in a warm place or until almost doubled in size.
7. Knead for 5 minutes then divide the dough into 22 equal portions and shape into smooth balls.
8. Place 8 of the rolls into an Ironclad Pan lined with baking paper and either make the rest on a baking sheet or freeze remainder of dough for next Hot Cross Bun emergency.
9. Whisk together flour and water to make a paste. Fill a piping bag fitted with a small tip (or use a plastic bag with end snipped off) and add the flour paste. Pipe rows across the top of the buns until a cross is formed atop each bun.
10. Let rise for 1 more hour or until double in size.
11. Preheat oven to 190°C.
12. Bake in preheated oven for between 15 - 20 mins till nicely browned and remove from oven. Brush the top with sugar syrup made from 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons boiling water.
EAT THOSE DELICIOUS LITTLE BEAUTIES HOT OUT OF THE OVEN WITH LASHINGS OF BUTTER. BUGGER THE KETO DIET DURING RĀHUI!
** if you did freeze some of the mix. Pull it out of freezer the night before and let defrost overnight. Knead and roll into balls and proceed as above.