Yesterday I read a news article mocking the English Defence League for failing to realise that a satirical news story claiming a bakery had decided to remove the ‘offensive’ cross from traditional hot cross buns was indeed a spoof and reacting with their usual rabid froth of outrage.
One indignant commenter declared, ‘What next, ”hot crescent bun” …?‘
And that was it, the idea for my Hot Multicultural Buns was born. I mean, if right-wing bigots think it’s a bad idea, surely it’s a bloody excellent one, right? And of course, I took it a few steps further too!
I enlisted Pete to help me make these buns today, so keen was I to counter the rhetoric of the EDL.
Using a Nigella Lawson recipe from her excellent book, Feast, we made eight buns. I pasted a traditional Christian cross on two, an Islamic crescent and star on two more, a Jewish star of David on another two and a Hindu swastika on the last pair.
My icing skills aren’t great and we forgot to egg-wash the buns before I piped on the shapes but you can just about make out the designs and I hope you’ll enjoy and perpetuate the idea.
Kavey's Hot Multicultural Buns
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Hot Cross Buns.
Nigella makes 16 mini buns with this recipe; we made 8 regular sized ones instead.
For the dough:
- 150 ml milk
- 50 g unsalted butter
- zest of an orange
- 1 clove
- 2 cardamom pods
- 400 g bread flour
- 7 g packet of easy-blend yeast
- 125 g mixed dried fruit
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 large egg
For the egg wash:
- 1 large egg (beaten with a little milk)
For the multicultural patterns:
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp water
For the sugar glaze:
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp boiling water
Extra equipment: You will also need a clear plastic freezer bag or piping bag to pipe the multicultural symbols onto the buns.
Heat the milk, butter, orange zest, clove and cardamom pods in a saucepan until the butter melts, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse as it cools down.
Weigh the flour, yeast and dried fruit into a large bowl and add the spices. When the milk has cooled to blood temperature remove the whole spices and beat in the egg. Pour the mix into the dry ingredients and bring together into a dough.
Knead by hand or with a machine with a dough hook; if too dry add a little more warm milk or water. Knead until the dough is silky and elastic, though the dried fruit won’t allow for a satin smooth finish.
Shape into a ball, place into a large bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove overnight in the fridge or for several hours in a cool room.
Take the dough out of the fridge and set aside for half hour to come up to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF.
Punch the dough down and knead again.
Divide the dough into 8 portions and roll into rounds.
Line the buns up fairly snugly but not quite toughing on a silicon baking sheet or lined baking tray. Cover with clingfilm or a clean teatowel and leave to rise again for 45-60 minutes.
Brush the buns with an egg wash.
Mix flour, sugar and water into a smooth, thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with narrow nozzle or plastic freezer bag, then snipping the very tip of the corner off.
Pipe crosses, crescents, stars of david and swastikas as you like.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Just before taking the buns out of the oven, mix sugar and boiling water together for the glaze.
Brush each bun with the glaze as soon you remove them from the oven to give a sweet and shiny finish.
Enjoy warm, halved and spread generously with good quality salted butter, or leave to cool and serve toasted with butter and jam. Indeed enjoy them however you like, but I do hope you share them with friends of all colours, backgrounds and faiths!
Edit: Please be clear. The swastika iced onto my buns is a Hindu swastika, a symbol perverted by the Nazis to be sure, but reclaimed here as a symbol of the Hindu faith. I do not hold with suggestions that Hindus (and others) may no longer use the swastika, which has been associated with their faith for hundreds and hundreds of years. If you cannot see past Nazism, that is your prerogative, but this post is absolutely not showing any support whatsoever to Nazism or its supporters.