Should the weather over the Easter school break be less spectacular than during these last few weeks, you'll find cooking can be a fun way to keep the kids entertained on a rainy day.
Baking is a particularly good culinary activity to attempt with children. There’s something magically alchemist-like about turning flour, water and yeast into a delicious, highly edible final product. And the removal of the hot bread, bun or cake from the oven is definitely a high point, perhaps beaten only by the joy of tearing apart the fragrant results and smearing them with butter.
This recipe comes from David Hall – father, cook and Masterchef finalist – who recently picked up a best reader recipe Observer Food Award. No mean feat considering Nigel Slater and restaurant critic Jay Rayner were judging.
David’s four-year-old daughter Cerys always plays a part in his cooking, cropping up in photos holding their latest creation.
For more of David’s wonderful recipes, visit www.davidhall.co.uk.
Chocolate and orange hot cross buns (Makes 10-12)
- 1 tbsp dried yeast
- 3 tbsp honey
- 200ml warm water
- 500g plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 50g sultanas
- Zest of one orange, finely grated
- Half an Easter egg, roughly chopped (around 100g chocolate)
- 25g melted butter
- 100ml warm milk
- 1 egg
Mix the yeast,1 tbs honey and water and leave for 5-10 minutes in a warm place until misture forms a froth and starts to smell. Sieve flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in salt, spice, sultanas, orange zest and chocolate egg.
Pour in yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. Mix egg with milk and add along with melted butter and the remaining honey, mixing thoroughly. Mix until it comes together into a dough, which may call for a drop more milk.
Tip onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes until a hand indentation pressed into the surface springs back straight away.
Put back into bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for an hour or so until it has doubled in size. Pre-heat oven to 200 °C.
When it's doubled in size, lightly knead again to get rid of air. Roll out into a sausage and cut off 10-12 portions. Roll these into balls and place onto a greased and floured baking tray. Cut crosses into top with a sharp knife then cover again and leave until they double in size again.
Place into a high oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and make a hollow sound when tapped. Once cooled, mix a little sugar and water together over heat and brush onto the top to make a sugar glaze.