First, hot cross buns are sweet, lightly spiced rolls with cinnamon and nutmeg and studded with tangy craisins or raisons. Originally, they were a Saxon tradition that turned into an Easter tradition to celebrate Good Friday. If you have any left overs, you can cut them in half and make a really delicious French toast!
Ingredients for Hot Cross Buns:
1/2 cup raisins, currants, or craisins + 1 cup boiling hot water
3/4 cup very warm milk, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup (I used whole milk, 2% is fine)
1/2 cup white sugar + 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened 15 seconds in microwave
1/2 tsp salt
1 envelope active dry yeast (about 3/4 Tbsp or 2 1/4 tsp) – I used Red Star Yeast
2 large eggs, well beaten
3 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp (a large pinch) ground nutmeg
For the Egg Wash:1 egg, well beaten with 1 tsp water
For the Glaze:1/2 cup Powdered sugar mixed with 2 1/2 tsp Milk
1. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup raisins/craisins with 1 cup boiling hot water. Let sit 10 min then drain well and set aside.
2. In a large measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup warm milk with 1/2 tsp sugar and sprinkle 3/4 Tbsp yeast over the top. Stir and let sit at room temp until bubbly and doubled in volume (10 min).
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup very warm milk with 1/2 cup sugar, 4 Tbsp softened butter and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir until butter is melted. Add 2 well beaten eggs and proofed yeast mixture. Stir in 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon and pinch of ground nutmeg.
4. Using the dough hook attachment mix in 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time until soft dough forms. Knead 8-12 min on speed 2 or until smooth and elastic. Dough will still stick a little to the bowl but not to your fingers.
If kneading by hand, use a wooden spoon to stir, then turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead 8-12 min using just enough flour to prevent sticking to your hands.
5. Add drained raisins/craisins (pat them dry with paper towels if they still seem too wet) and transfer dough to a large buttered bowl, turning it to bring the buttered side-up. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free room 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume (you can also proof in a warm 100˚F oven).
6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half then continue cutting dough until you have 12 equal sized pieces. Roll dough into balls and transfer to a buttered 9×13″ baking pan. Cover with a tea towel and let them sit in a warm, draft-free room 30 min until puffed.
7. Now you should preheat your oven to 375˚F. Generously brush the tops with egg wash and bake for 15-17 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan.
8. Once buns are just warm (not hot), stir together the 1/2 cup powdered sugar and about 2 1/2 tsp milk. You can add more powdered sugar to thicken it up if needed. Transfer glaze to a ziplock bag, cut off the tip of the bag and pipe a cross shape over each of the buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.
1 (5 to 6 pound) boneless leg of lamb (should come tied up, if not, have the butcher tie it for roasting)
2 lemons (juiced)
6 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/4 cup fresh rosemary (chopped)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt (as needed)
1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the olive oil and salt, in a large bowl.
2. Rub the leg of lamb thoroughly with the marinade until coated. You may even push some herbs and garlic into any cracks and crevices.
3. Place the lamb in a plastic bag, and marinade in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
4. Remove the lamb from the fridge, and let sit out for 45 minutes to come up to room temperature.
5. Remove the lamb from the marinade and place on a rack in a large roasting pan. Rub with the olive oil, and season very generously with the salt. Keep the side with the most fat facing up.
6. Preheat oven to 450 F.
7. Roast for 15 minutes in the hot oven to browning the surface.
8. Then reduce the oven to 315 F. and roast for approximately 10 minutes per pound (for a 5 to 6 pound leg this will be about an hour).
9. The best method for checking the doneness is using a digital meat thermometer and removing the lamb when the internal temp reaches 135 F. This will give you a nice pink and juicy roast. Let the lamb for at least 20 minutes before slicing. It's best sliced thin, against the grain of the meat.
While the meat is resting, you can pour off the fat from the roasting pan, place it over a medium flame, and deglaze the browned bits on the bottom with a cup of water, or stock. Simply scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula while the liquid simmers, until all the caramelized juices have dissolved. Pour this over the sliced lamb when served.
This is lovely served with roasted potatoes, a vegetable, and crisp green salad! Enjoy!