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SWEET EASTER BREADS

Published: 
Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter is just around the corner, and the country is awash in the blooms of Poui. It truly is a sight to behold. Enjoy the sight, because you know we have to wait one year to enjoy them once again. Easter means hot cross buns and delightful sweet breads, the former being advertised by local bakeries and supermarkets alike. I personally love a good sweet-yeasty confection. They are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea and a great addition to a brunch menu. Not only are they easy to prepare, they freeze well too. So before you go out and buy those sweet buns this Easter, why not try to bake up a few yourself! 

 

NUTTY CHOCOLATE STUFFED EASTER DANISH

This Easter time treat is indeed a double dose of chocolate goodness sandwiched in-between a buttery light Danish dough.

For the dough:
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs  Instant Yeast
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter, cold, sliced
1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:
1 cup shelled, toasted almonds, chopped
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup butter
1 egg white
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate (optional)

For the glaze:
1 egg yolk
3 tbs milk
1/2 cup icing sugar mixed with a small amount of water to drizzle onto Danish.

The night before beat the milk with the egg. Place the flour, yeast, sugar and butter and salt into a food processor, pulse until butter is the size of small peas, transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add the milk mixture, stir together with a wooden spoon, then turn the dough onto your work surface. Knead lightly.
Roll the dough into a 15x9 inch rectangle. Fold the two short sides over so that the edges meet in the centre. Now fold at this centre point again.
Rotate the dough so that the smooth side is at your left, roll the dough again twice and repeat the above. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning remove dough from refrigerator and split into two.
Grease and flour a ten-inch spring form pan.
Press one piece of dough into the base of the pan. Make the filling by placing the almonds, icing sugar, cocoa, butter, egg white and almond extract into a food processor bowl, pulse until mixture comes together.
Add the dark chocolate at this point if using. Pulse a few seconds more.
Spread the filling over dough and roll out the second piece of dough to a ten-inch circle and place over filling in tin.
Press ends to seal.
Cover with plastic and let rise for one hour.
Preheat oven to 350˚F
Combine egg yolk with milk, brush onto danish dough, sprinkle with a handful of slivered almonds. Bake for 50 minutes until risen and golden.
Cool and drizzle with icing sugar glaze.
Makes 1 ten-inch Danish.

CINNAMON CRISPS

Dough:
3 1/2 to 4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tbs Instant Yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
11/4 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1 egg

Filling
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted

Topping
1/4 cup meted butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts, (almonds, pecans, or walnuts)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar

Combine two cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt, melt butter with milk to about 115-120˚F, Add to flour with egg, mix to a soft dough, add as much as the remaining flour to make a soft and pliable dough. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, (45 minutes)
Punch dough down and divide into two parts.
Combine the filling ingredients, except the melted butter.
Roll dough to a 12-inch square, brush with half the melted butter; sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll up jellyroll style, beginning at the longest side, seal seams and cut into 12 rolls.
Place each roll onto a greased or lined baking sheet flatten to about three inches in diameter.
Repeat with the remaining piece or dough.
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
Cover and let rest for about 20 minutes. Cover with waxed paper, and using a rolling pin flatten to 1/8-inch thickness, remove paper.
Meanwhile combine the ingredients for the topping except the melted butter.
Brush the flattened rolls with the melted butter, sprinkle with topping ingredients.
Bake for ten to 12 minutes
Makes 24 rolls.

HOT CROSS BUNS

You can use your electric mixer for this recipe but the directions are for making by hand.

1 tbs active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup lukewarm milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg
1 egg yolk
4 to 41/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup mixed peel, (optional)
1 egg white slightly beaten
1 tbs water

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water, stir in milk, sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, egg, egg yolk and two cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in raisins and mixed peel add enough flour to make the dough easy to handle.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about five mins.
Place in a greased bowl turn greased side up. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough, divide into four equal parts. Cut each part into six equal pieces.
Shape each piece into a ball, place about two inches apart on a baking sheet.
With a scissors, snip a cross on top of each ball.
Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 40 mins.
Preheat oven to 375˚F
Mix egg white with one tablespoon water, brush top of buns with egg white mixture.
Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Frost crosses on buns with powdered sugar frosting.
Makes 24 rolls.

Powdered sugar frosting

1 cup icing sugar
1 tbs water or milk
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Mix sugar with water and vanilla until smooth. Add a little more water if needed 1/2 tsp at a time. Place in a piping bag and pipe crosses onto buns in line with the crosses cut previously with the scissors.
Let dry before serving.