Happy Sardinian/English Good Friday..
Blood Orange & Saffron Hot Cross Buns
220g plain flour
120g dark brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
Pinch of ground saffron
Pinch of ground cloves
Zest of 2 blood oranges (save juice for later)
20g fresh yeast
300g warm water (blood temp)
For the final dough:
400g bread flour
2 egg yolks
130g butter, softened
100 g candied peel
For the Cross:
80g plain flour
Pinch of salt and pinch of sugar
Melt the fresh yeast in the warm water and then whisk all of the ingredients for the starter together and cover. Leave for 1 hour.
Bring the orange juice to the boil. Add the raisins and then remove from the heat. Set aside for half an hour or so until the raisins have soaked up most of the juice. Pour off any excess.
Add the remaining ingredients for the final dough and mix in a mixer until you have a smooth, even dough. It will be fairly wet and sticky, but don’t worry. Leave to rise overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for 1hour – 90 minutes, until doubled in size.
Using a dough scraper and lightly oiling your scales, work surface and hands with a little flavourless oil, cut and shape the dough into balls of 120g.
Place the balls on a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper a few inches apart. Tuck them away in the oven (oven is off at this point!) to keep them out of mischief. They can rise quietly here without being exposed to drafts or forming a skin due to exposure to air.
Let them rise for 1 hour – 90 minutes, until doubled in size.
Remove the buns from the oven and turn it to 180.
Brush the buns evenly with milk and a pastry brush.
Mix the ingredients for the cross together in a bowl. Make a little piping bag out of grease-proof paper, decant the mixture into it. Pipe on the cross.
Bake in the oven for 14 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and glaze, whilst still warm, with honey, a simple sugar syrup or the syrup from your candied peel.
Eat as they are (these buns are good enough to be eaten alone) or split, toasted and topped with slabs of salty butter.