After the discussion this week on Facebook, I’ve decided to do a recipe post of Easter recipes. As I was compiling my short list of dishes to share, it became apparent that the common denominator is dried fruit & more often than not, mixed spice. Both of these ingredients seem more connected to Winter & Christmas time, more than Easter. Most of the foods eaten in and around Easter can be traced back to Spring Pagan rituals, rather than the influence of Christianity, for example:
- Eggs – signifies rebirth
- Ham – signifies luck
- Lamb – signifies sacrifice
- Bread & Cakes – signifies fertility
Easter breads & cakes are wide spread across Europe, with Simnel cake being the most synonymous. Hot cross buns are another bread / cake which usually only makes an appearance this time of year. Other than the common link of the dried fruit & spices, both contain eggs which were forbidden by the Catholic church during lent. Hot cross buns also have a special non religious meaning in the UK. The institutionalisation of these small yeast buns dates back to Tudor times, when a London bylaw was introduced forbidding the sale of such buns except on Good Friday, at Christmas, and at burials.
So here are my Easter recipes, many will note that I tend to use Five spice over mixed spice, it’s a personal preference as it tends to make the products that just a little bit more fragrant.
- 460g Unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 340g Caster sugar + extra from sprinkling
- 70g Egg yolk (about 4)
- 800g Plain flour
- 2 tsp Five spice
- 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp Ground nutmeg
- 100ml Milk
- 240g Mixed dried fruit
In a kitchen mixer on a high speed, cream the butter & sugar together until pale.
Reduce the speed to minimum and slowly add the egg yolks.
Remove the dough from the machine and fold in the flour, spices & dried fruit with a metal spoon.
Then add the 100ml of milk to make the dough soft enough to use.
Rest in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
Roll & cut out biscuit dough to 1½ times the thickness of a £1 coin, cut using pastry cutters and rest in the fridge whilst your oven is pre-heating to 180°C.
Bake for 15minutes at 180°C and as soon as you remove from the oven, sprinkle with caster sugar.
Hot Cross Buns
- 1.5kg Strong flour
- 100g Yeast
- 90g Sugar
- 15g Salt
- 6 Eggs
- 500ml Warm water (40ºC)
- 240g Butter, diced at room temperature
- 350g Mixed peel
- 100g Sultanas
- 45g Five spice
- 20g Ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons Golden syrup
Dissolve the yeast in the warm warm & wait until it starts to ferment. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
In a mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, yeast solution, sugar and eggs, mixing to a dough for 10 minutes on a medium speed.
Next gradually add the butter and mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl cleanly.
Mix in remainder of ingredients (except the Golden syrup) and weigh the dough out into 60g balls. Roll as you would for dinner rolls and prove on a lightly greased tray. Prove until they’re double in size.
Prepare cross paste by making a paste with water & plain flour, using a piping bag, pipe the cross onto the proved dough balls.
Bake for 15minutes at 200°C. When cooked, remove from the oven, warm the golden syrup and liberally brush the hot cross buns with the golden syrup.
Wait to cool.
My final recipe is a hybrid, not quite a cake (despite its name) & not quite a biscuit either.
- 250g Butter
- 165 Caster sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 450g Plain flour
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- 100g Mixed dried fruit
- 100g Sultanas
- 1 tsp Ground cassia
- 1 tsp Ground nutmeg
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
Sieve together the flour, baking powder & spices, and then rub in the butter with your finger tips.
Combine and then add the fruits.
Add the eggs and bring together as a dough.
Rest in the fridge for 1hour before rolling out.
Roll out to a thickness of ½cm, egg wash & dust with sugar. Bake for 12-14minutes at 200°C.
Happy Easter from ChefHermes.com