‘Queen of the Carbs’ Makes a Comeback during an Extra-ordinary Easter

It is a long time since I’ve posted a ‘food/baking’ piece. It isn’t that I don’t do any cooking or baking these days, but more that food doesn’t have much to do with my creative work.

Obviously, blog posts about my professional work show the development and process of painting a silk scarf. Posts about art, sculpture, architectural details and East Anglia’s cultural heritage in general, indicate from where I find much of my inspiration. Then there are my flower and garden posts full of colourful floral arrangements as if you were in any doubt where quite a few of my colour combinations come from.

Then there is the odd time I write a review of a play or a film I’ve seen because I just can’t help myself despite reviews having nothing to do with painting silk. These reviews are the result of a momentary glitch when my grumpy alter ego manages to slip the leash.

But this has been a very strange and disconcerting Easter and like everybody else I have been indoors, a lot, and I found FLOUR in my store cupboard. That’s a selection of opened, half-used bags of plain, self-raising, strong, wholemeal, seeded, rye and spelt. So I’ve had a bake up.

Panini, scones and biscotti.
  • Plain flour – that will be some almond biscotti made with two-thirds white to one-third muscovado sugar.
  • Self-raising flour – some Mary Berry scones perhaps.
  • Strong flour – easy, naturally, hot cross buns!
Yes, fresh yeast. It was Hobson’s choice so not quite as fresh as it could have been.

Fortunately, along with the strong flour I also had yeast, eggs, butter and the dried fruit and spices needed for hot cross buns. Another stroke of luck was finding at the back of the cupboard the whole citrus peel leftover from my three attempts at making panettone. My first effort was made for last Christmas. Then I had another go in January and then another in February.

Anyway, let’s forget Christmas and get back to Easter! Compared to panettone hot cross buns are easy. Mix up the dough, give it a good knead and the only thing you have to remember is that as this is an enriched dough, it’s a good hour and a half for the first prove rather than the usual hour.

Dough mixed and kneaded, then after first prove shaped into buns for second prove complete with their ‘runny’ crosses – baking in the time of Covid.

This year the only issue I had was that the flour paste for the crosses was too runny and whereas I would normally keep ladling in the flour to make it thicker, with the current flour shortages, runny it stayed.

No family visiting from the depths of the West Country or even down from London this Easter holidays, but hot cross buns freeze well and will be a welcome carb treat with the morning coffee for the next . . . . . three weeks of lockdown.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

13 thoughts on “‘Queen of the Carbs’ Makes a Comeback during an Extra-ordinary Easter”

    1. Awwh thank you – but I am, like my late mother, a jack-of-all-trades. . . . However not quite her range as she could lay concrete and plaster walls.

    1. That would be a fun experiment – bun tossing. I live on a street popular with dog-walkers. I think the dogs would do rather well out of such a game!

  1. I’ve never had success with yeast – then again, I haven’t tested my skills for years. Those buns look delicious. I bought one packet at our “pop-up” shop which has been set up where our restaurant used to be. I got the last packet, and I’d have been better off leaving them for someone else. They didn’t seem terribly fresh, and had too much done to them. I’d say even the fruit had been chocolate coated at some time. But over the week I ate every one of them. (Bill is coeliac, and even though he is symptom-less, he rarely breaks out. He had one. He didn’t feel the need to have a second 🙂 )

    1. It is odd times indeed when a dubious bun is a treat! That was a stroke of luck that Bill got away with it especially if it wasn’t very nice. It is one of the delights of being human that the second you know you can’t have something – it’s not available or you can’t on health grounds (what ever it is), you want it like never before. 🙄

      1. That gave me a flashback to when I tried ski-ing. I never got past snow-ploughing really. But after the first day I was ready to snuggle up with a good book, until my sister said – “You’re letting this beat you.”
        “No I’m not,” I protested. And I was back on the slopes the next day.
        I never mastered it though 🙂

  2. Ah, you too! I made a batch of hot cross buns – though I had to manage without candied peel – and gave a few to our immediate neighbours. Lots of brownie points there. They do smell so good, don’t they?

    1. They do indeed. I thought about giving a couple to my father and my next door neighbour, but everybody is sooooo very nervous (perhaps town living?). Anyway my father doesn’t really do sweet food and my next door neighbour preps organic food for her dog – so I didn’t want to put her on the spot!

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