We’ve barely pulled down the Christmas trees before the supermarkets are awash with overpriced chocolate covered in brightly coloured foil, and the truly, truly glorious hot cross bun.
A proper hot cross bun is soft, riddled with spices, encrusted with currants, and lovingly dusted with gritty nibs of sugar. After the carb free, air-eating summer influence of Bondi beach, its nice to enjoy something that can be split, toasted and slathered with butter.
Some consider it sacrilege, but the addition of chocolate makes a hot cross bun festive in the proper sense. The pieces of chocolate are shoved in very imprecisely here – the point is not a perfectly smooth bun but one with ridges, bumps and personality. It’s important so when pulled from the oven, chocolate is oozing from its pores and spreading itself indecently across your plate. It’s the sort of bun that offers pure restoration in both the physical and gastronomic sense. And that’s just the kind of Easter we should all be having.
75g butter, salted
250g strong (bread) flour
200g plain flour
50g potato starch*
85g caster sugar
7g dried yeast
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cardamom
1 large egg, lightly beaten.
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
Beaten egg to glaze
Pour the milk in a saucepan and place over medium heat, bringing the milk almost to boiling point. Remove from heat, add the butter to melt gradually, and allow to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
Sift the flours, sugar and spices together in a large bowl, add the yeast and stir to combine. Make a well in the middle of the ingredients, then add the egg and the warm milk mixture. Stir together until the mixture starts to come away from the edge of the bowl. Cover tightly with wrap and place in the fridge overnight to ferment.
Preheat the oven to 175C.
Remove from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Roll the dough into a large rectangle, with your width about the length of a 30cm ruler. Using a knife, cut the dough into 15 strips. Pick up a strip and holding at each end, twist in opposite directions so the dough coils. Then coil the strip into itself to make a bun shape, tucking the ends underneath. Gently push pieces of chocolate into the centre of the bun – or anywhere there looks to be a natural gap in your twist. Repeat with the remaining twists and chocolate then place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with wrap and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Brush over the egg wash and bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until cooked through and brown on top.