For the buns
1/3 of a cup of plant based butter
1/4 cup of sugar
250ml of oat milk – luke-warm
2.5 tsp of yeast
3 cups of flour
A sprinkle of salt
1 tsp mixed spice
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
A dash of vanilla essence
1/2 a cup of raisins
1/2 a cup of cranberries
For the glaze
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup just-boiled water
a dash of almond essence (optional)
For the cross
4 tbsp flour
5 tbsp of cold water
Heat the margarine in a saucepan until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and milk. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk, stir and leave it alone for 2 minutes.
Mix the flour, salt, cinnamon, mixed spice and vanilla essence in a big bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour the warm milk into the flour mixture, stirring until the mixture forms a soft ball. It’ll look like a wet mess and like it’ll never turn into a ball of dough, but with some lightly floured fingers, you should now be able to turn this mixture into a soft ball of dough. After 3 or so minutes of kneading, add your fruit. First raisins and then cranberries. Knead until the fruits look evenly dispersed. Place your dough back in the bowl and put it in your cold oven, with a bowl of boiling water. Leave to rise until it feels spongy to the touch (up to 90 minutes).
Pour your dough onto your bench and deflate somewhat with your finger tips. Then divide it into 12 balls. Places these in rows on a bit of baking paper, about 1.5cm apart. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise again, until the balls begin to touch each other.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 190C.
While I’m not a big advocate for religious idolation, I attempted smiley faces and failed. So crosses it is. Make your crosses/smiley faces mixture by combining the flour and water until it makes a runny, but shapely, paste. Use a piping bag and nozzle to draw your crosses (or, if you’re like me and don’t have one – a chopstick and spoon will work just fine. The word is ‘homemade’.)
Place your decorated buns in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes (until they start to brown).
While they’re baking, prepare the glaze. Dissolve the sugar in water and in a small pot or pan, heat the mixture until it begins to thicken and furiously bubble. Make sure you keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. And if you’re feeling wild, add a dash of almond essence (or maybe the juice of an orange).
Once the buns are out of the oven, brush on your glaze. Let cool for a few minutes. Boil the kettle. Make yourself a tea. And assume a horizontal position for the remainder of the long weekend.
I listened to my friend Nicky curating her cycle instructing playlist while I baked.