Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!
One a penny two a penny - hot cross buns
If you have no daughters, give them to your sons
One a penny two a penny - hot cross buns
Remember the old nursery rhyme?
It's about that time of the year when thoughts turn to Easter goodies, and the hot cross bun is definitely at the top of the list.
|COLOURED EASTER EGGS
- Hard boiled eggs
- Food colouring
- Plain white vinegar
- A small bowl for each colour you are using
- Cold water
- Some vegetable oil
Fill each bowl with enough water to cover an egg. Add one teaspoon of vinegar to each bowl.
Add food colouring until you get the shade you want.
Dip hard boiled eggs, one at a time and for about 30 seconds, in coloured water.
Let them dry. Wipe with vegetable oil - using paper towel - to make a glossier egg.
To give the eggs a marbled effect, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the bowl with the dye.
Many bakeries will be turning out fresh-from-the-oven ones from this week. But this is a treat that you only get to enjoy at this time of the year. Don't expect to find them after Easter.
Never mind, if you have a hankering for them, you can always turn out your own, so read on.
The yeasty, fruity buns, decorated with a cross, have been a tradition in England for centuries, hence the nursery rhyme.
But, really, the same spicy bun mixture is available, minus the crosses, all year round. Next Sunday is Easter, so get started. And you can use your baking skills to prepare this tasty snack - at any time of the year.
The homemade variety really should taste much better than anything you can buy. And you can also keep an eye on the sugar content and avoid the additives often put in by manufacturers to prolong the shelf life of the buns.
They are simple to prepare and Singapore's warm climate means the yeast gets to work readily when the mixture is left to 'rise'. And you can delight in the spicy, yeasty aroma, when you take the buns out from the oven.
Serve hot cross buns hot (but of course) with coffee or tea. Spread with a little butter or jam, if you wish. Leftovers will be lovely sliced and toasted for breakfast the next day.
Cheesecake is another dessert with a long and interesting, if obscure, history.
The ancient Greeks are said to have served it to athletes at the first Olympic Games. The recipe spread across Europe and eventually to the United States, where many people now believe cheesecake originated.
Since then, every region of the globe has embraced cheesecake in one form or another, adapting the recipe and toppings to suit local tastes.
Most cafes in Singapore offer cheesecake in many flavours like chocolate or with fruit toppings.
And - like the hot cross bun - cheesecake is easy to make, and the taste and texture of the homemade variety is so much better. There are also lots of recipes. Some people like to simply mix the ingredients and let the cake set in the fridge. I prefer the baked variety and I hope you do too.
You can add flavouring, and of course 'stretch' your imagination when it comes to the toppings.
Hot cross buns
500g white flour, sifted
2 tsp (or 7g) dried yeast
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
40g brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
Put the flour, yeast, salt, cinnamon, mixed spice, currants and sultanas into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
Melt butter in a pan, then add the milk and sugar. Allow the mixture to warm until tepid. Too much heat will kill the yeast. Too little and the dough will not rise.
Pour the milk and butter mixture into the well and add the beaten egg. Turn out on a lightly floured cutting board and knead the dough by hand until it is very elastic (time: about 15 minutes). If the dough becomes too sticky, add more flour to the board. If you have an electric mixer, use the dough hook attachment.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth or cling film and leave to rise for about 1? hours. The dough will rise to almost double its original size.
Punch the dough down and divide into about 12 portions. Roll these into balls and place them in a greased flat oven dish so that their sides touch each other. Cover and set aside for around 45 minutes till the dough rises again.
During that time, make the pastry for the crosses.
Carefully place strips on top of each bun once the dough has risen again. Bake for 20 minutes in an oven pre-heated at 200degC.
Pastry for the crosses
50g plain flour
In a bowl, rub butter into flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add a little cold water until you get a stiff dough. Cut into fine strips.
Baked lemon cheesecake
For the base
100g plain biscuits (such as Digestives)
For the filling
500g low fat cream cheese
200g sour cream
1 tbs lemon rind
2 tbs lemon juice
Pre-heat the oven to 140 deg C.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Place the biscuits in a blender and process until they are finely ground. If you do not have a blender, put the biscuits in a ziplock bag, then crush with a rolling pin until they are the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
Add them to the melted butter and combine well. Press the crumb mixture into the base of a non-stick cake tin with a removable base. Put in the fridge to chill while you mix the filling.
Blend the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar together until smooth. If you don't have an electric blender, use an egg whisk.
Then add the eggs, lemon rind and juice and beat together until smooth. Taste and add more lemon juice if you prefer more tartness.
Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and bake in the oven for around 1 hour. The top should be firm to the touch.
Allow the cheesecake to cool in the tin a while before turning it out on a rack. Decorate with a slice of caramelised lemon if you wish. Simply coat the lemon slice in sugar melted in a pan.
This article was first published in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times on Mar 19, 2008.
|Is this article useful to you?
|Rate this product: Poor