I always bake our Hot Cross Buns, it means I can vary the spices and flavours to suit our tastes. I like to experiment as well, nothing too out there though, Hot Cross Buns are a delicious classic for a reason.
From 14th - 20th March Waitrose are going to be running an Easter competition to discover a new flavour of Hot Cross Bun to stock in their stores and asked me to come up with a new flavour combination. I had thought about Pear and Almond, with small chunks of fresh pear and raisins soaked in Amaretto, but decided on Stem Ginger and Date after a quick poll of my family and friends. I will probably still give the Pear and Almond flavoured Hot Cross Buns a try though, I'm sure the school run Mums would appreciate taste testing a batch for me.
Waitrose have got a number of new delicious Hot Cross Bun flavours in stores this year including toffee and a Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Bun created by Heston and are asking their social media communities to share with them which new flavour suggestion the public think would make a delicious addition to the range. Entrants have the chance to win gift vouchers towards their food shop, and one of the flavours entered into the competition will be turned into a product that will go on shelves next year!
Waitrose judges will narrow down the entries into a final three and then it will be put to a vote across their social media communities to determine the winner. The winner will be announced by the end of May 2016 and the first prize winner will receive £500 Waitrose vouchers with the two runners up getting £100 Waitrose vouchers each.
Stem Ginger and Date Hot Cross Buns
250ml/1 cup lukewarm water
2 Tblsp caster sugar
1 sachet instant yeast
375g/2.5 cups plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
25g softened butter
1 free range egg
3 pieces stem ginger, very finely chopped
100g moist dates, finely chopped
100g moist dates, finely chopped
syrup from stem ginger jar, for glaze
You can make these buns by hand or using a stand mixer. Stir the water and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved.
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, add the instant yeast then make a well in the centre. Pour in the water, add the eggs and the softened butter. Mix until combined with a wooden spoon and then turn out onto a floured bench and knead the dough lightly.
This is a fairly moist dough so add extra flour if you need to during the kneading process. Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.
Or put all the dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Start the stand mixer on a low speed to mix the dry ingredients before slowly adding the water, eggs and softened butter. Knead on a low speed until everything is well combined and then knead for 10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.
Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with greased cling film. Leave in a warm place till dough doubles in size, this should take around 45 minutes to an hour.
Once the dough has risen, knock it back by kneading through the ginger and dates. Divide the dough into 12 portions and shape into buns. Put the shaped bun onto an oven tray lined with non-stick baking paper and cover with the greased cling film. Leave them to rise for around half an hour, whilst your oven preheats to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6/400F, the buns should almost double in size.
Remove the cling film from the risen buns. Mix together 3 tablespoons of self raising or plain flour with 4 tablespoons of water and mix to form a paste. Pipe a cross on to the buns then bake for 15 - 20 minutes until deep golden and cooked through. Brush the buns with syrup from the jar of stem ginger whilst still warm. Leave until cool enough to eat then devour with a cuppa.
Check out some of the other delicious recipes created for the campaign:
Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns from The Hedgecombers
Coconut and Mango from Recipes from a Pantry
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