FELICITY'S CRANBERRY AND ORANGE HOT CROSS BUNS

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

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.

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