Easter is a bit of a conundrum for me. There is a massive lead up: storefronts are hung with pastel streamers and felted rabbit’s ears rest atop the heads of bored sales staff. People flock to the shops to buy overpriced chocolates and overpriced spiced buns. The rationale behind the drastic overpricing of these holidays treats? The chocolates come in cute shapes and the bread has crosses on top. What’s worse, the sacrosanct rituals of devouring unearthed easter eggs after hours of searching, and the patient wait to inhale that first hot cross bun on Good Friday, have become rare and almost obsolete. The Easter bunny is fading, it’s power to bribe children is waning, and hot cross buns become available months before Easter even appears on the calendar.
Don’t get me wrong, I too was once an eager participant of Easter egg hunts, and admit to eating hot cross buns a few days early. But I think that the holiday itself, one which used to align itself with family gatherings, feasts and celebrating new life, has swollen into an excuse for gorging on egg-shaped confections. I think it’s also important at this point to mention that I have never associated Easter with church or Christianity when I was younger. I grew up in a not-very-religious household, and now consider myself a not-very-religious agnostic teenager.
However, I will admit that the taste of hot cross buns is one I savour. The scent of spices slowly exuding from the kitchen to cast a blanket of holiday magic over the house is one that elicits fond memories.
This year, I had resigned myself to accept the small sad fact that I may not be enjoying any hot cross buns. No fructose means no dried fruit means no raisins, and, after all, plump sultanas are the best part about hot cross buns.
Then, all of a sudden, I had an idea.
Hot cross buns don’t need fruit! Hot cross buns can be fruitless! Hot cross buns could be fructose – and therefore fodmap – friendly!
But I would only be able to convince myself that these fodmap friendly hot cross buns were the real deal if – and only if – they tasted like their gluten-ous fiends.
Spice? Check. Subtle citrus note? Check. Toasted, with jam, or warm, with butter? Check. Fluffy interior, dense outer crust, sticky glazed top? Triple check.
By my method of rationalising, the fodmap friendly hot cross buns I have created pass the test! (Or tests, plural, because these required me to eat more than one…)
Love, your sticky-fingered author in a spice-induced coma, Rosie.
- 375ml milk
- 1 tablespoon dried yeast (the kind that gets stored in the refrigerator)
- 45g coconut sugar
- 70g caster sugar
- 245g millet flour
- 150g buckwheat flour, plus extra for rolling and dusting
- 20g coconut flour
- 60g tapioca starch
- 60g potato starch
- 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 tablespoons psyllium husk
- 2 eggs
- 50g butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 50g buckwheat flour
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Grease and line a 28.5 cm x 20 cm tray with baking paper. It is important to choose a baking tray or casserole dish that is the correct size, quite deep and has straight sides, as it will affect the shape of the final product.
- Heat the milk in a glass jug by microwaving in 15 second bursts until warm to the touch. Add the yeast and sugars, stir, then set aside for 10 minutes until it becomes foamy.
- Sift the flours, starches, baking powder and spices into the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hooks attached.
- Add the psyllium husk, eggs, melted butter, orange zest and yeast mixture. Mix for 2 minutes on medium until well combined.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl, removing any pockets of flour, then mix for another 2 minutes until thickened.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour to rise.
- Liberally dust a work surface, hands, and top of dough with buckwheat flour. Take handfuls of dough and roll into 15 balls. It is a good idea to lay them out on the work surface to ensure they are roughly the same size.
- Place side by side in the prepared tray, cover with a tea towel, and allow to rise an additional 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
- In a small bowl, stir together the buckwheat flour and sugar for the crosses. Add enough water to create a thick, pipable paste. Transfer to a small piping bag or ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.
- Pipe crosses over buns then bake for 25 minutes until dark brown and risen. Remove from the oven but leave in the tray for glazing.
- To glaze the buns, microwave the syrup and cinnamon together for 15-20 seconds until runny. Brush hot glaze over the buns. After 10-15 minutes transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy warm, halved, and with plenty of butter.
- These are best eaten within two days of making, stored in an airtight container. The glaze may soak into the buns, but can be re-glazed just before eating if desired. They can also be frozen for 1-2 months. Just wrap the buns with cling film or place in individual ziplock bags first.