A Burgess Easter

This Easter like nearly every other Easter since 2004 we went camping. This year we went to the beautiful Lake Albert here in South Australia. There was fishing, Kayaking, wine, sunshine (and wind) and much fun and frivolity.

I was going to write about cooking while camping . But our Easter camping adventures are perhaps a bit different from the standard camping trip. We go with my Husbands extended family. My husband comes from a massive family and this year there were 31 of us camping as one big group. It’s all lovely and communal and the children roam free with each other for company.

One of the things that makes the Burgess family Easter camp a bit special is Roast night. This is where each family cooks a roast meal. These roast meals are prepared using webers or in our case a fancy webber type thing called a cob.

They are also prepared in tiny prep areas, in fact I had to serve with our plates on the ground as I had run out of room

The best wines are brought out for the meal, all of our tables are pushed together to form on long table, the tables get table cloths and candles and people go all out. But the best bit is this family all sits together and chats and laughs and enjoys themselves.

The next morning there is a big fry up – mmm bacon.

and of course chocolate, including an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

Sometimes life’s so busy that little things like catching up with family just fall by the wayside, so it’s nice to be part of a family (even if only by marriage) who make the time every Easter to camp together and really catch up.

Hot Cross Buns No. 1

Every year I give homemade hot cross buns a crack.  I don’t know why I mean it’s not like the moment the supermarkets open their doors after Easter they are hard to get.  And quite frankly I rather like the supermarket ones (yeah I’ll confess to buying them way before Easter). They’re all soft and fruity and spicy.

And this I suspect is why I make them every year as I can never get them as soft or fluffy as they do in the supermarkets. It’s like the challenge of trying to get them soft is why I cook them. I usually just pick a recipe at random and make it and though its tasty it’s never soft or fluffy and that’s that. 

But this year I was contacted by my friend Hannah who asked me how to get soft and fluffy hot cross buns.  Clearly my copious baking had tricked her into thinking I was some kind of expert. She provided me with her recipe and the only change I could suggest was to use bread flour.

It all started some sort of obsessive quest to bake the perfect soft fluffy hot cross buns.  Ok the supermarkets have the advantage of preservative and other unpronounacle ingredients but surely the average home cook could make soft and fluffy hot cross buns

So I’ve set myself the challenge of making 3 different hot cross bun recipes.  This one is the first. 

It’s the recipe my friend Hannah asked for my advice on.   I accidently left out the sugar and omitted the crosses, but overall they still turned out pretty good, but alas not soft and fluffy. 

let’s make hot cross buns

There was fancy bread flour mixed with spices

And some sifting

butter and milk melted together

then together with sultanas mixed up into dough

then left to rise

and baked and glazed

Hot Cross Buns –  recipe adapted from SBS food

 teaspoons dried instant yeast
500g bread flour
90g sugar
300mls milk
1tsp salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground all spice
¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
60g butter
1 large egg
140g sultanas

Crosses (if you choose to make them)
2 Tablespoons self raising flour
2 Tablespoons cold water

4 Tablespoons of sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
150mls boiling water

Sift together flour, spices, salt and yeast

In a saucepan heat the milk over a low heat and melt the butter into it.

In a separate bowl beat the egg.

Add the milk and butter mixture to the flour and mix . Add the egg and mix well to form a dough.  I used the dough hook on my mixer to do this

Add Sultanas

Knead with dough hook in mixer (or by hand) until it feels smooth and is no longer sticky (approx 3 mins).

Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to prove until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Punch the dough down and then separate it into equal portion ( it doesn’t matter the size as long as they are about the same size as each other)s.

Place the buns close together on a lightly greased baking tray.

Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size (approx an hour).

For the crosses: Mix the flour and water thoroughly to form a thick paste. Spoon into a zip-lock bag, cut a little hole out of the corner of the bag and use it to pipe the mixture in crosses on top of the buns.

Bake the topped buns at 220°C for 15-20mins.

For the glaze: Mix together all ingredients, dissolving the sugar in the boiling water. Brush over the buns lightly while still hot.

Enjoy Fresh and hot from oven with real proper butter