It’s also not the first time I’ve made slightly out-there Hot Cross Buns.
And I’d love to tell you that I made these a million ways and this is the best but truth be told time got the better of me this year and right now done is better than shelved for another year.
In theory veggie powders would work a treat but fresh produce was all I had so that’s what got used.
In theory you could create a whole rainbow of colours but three will have to do today.
In theory the second rise should happen as written below to create silky dough, however if you get caught up on a client call so the second rise happens straight after the first, then you mix in the colours and rest for barely 10 mins before swirling it will still work (although may be a bit less pretty and smooth than it should be, ahem).
Either way (or anyway) what you’ll end up with is a wonderfully lurid, slightly sweet, definitely fragrant, Hot Cross Bun just in time for Easter. Isn’t that convenient.
Rainbow Swirl Hot Cross Buns
Slightly sweet, slightly spiced, slightly lurid — how very festive.
- 1 cup just-warm water
- 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup, divided
- 1 packet dried yeast (7 g or 2 ¼ tsp)
- 2 cups organic unbleached white flour, plus ¼ to ½ cup extra
- 2 cups organic stone ground whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup olive, macadamia or grapeseed oil, plus extra for bowl
- 2 eggs
- 1½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup golden raisins or chopped dried apple
- ½ cup orange peel, diced
- 2 Tbsp beet puree
- 2 Tbsp frozen spinach puree
- ½ – 1 tsp tumeric powder
- a bit extra of each for crosses if you wish
- ¼ cup unbleached white flour
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp apricot jam, warmed
Combine warm water, 1 tsp syrup and yeast. Stir well and set aside 5 mins until foamy.
In a large bowl mix 1 cup of each flour with all the yeast liquid and beat with a wooden spoon for 50 strokes. Add remaining honey, oil, eggs, salt and spices and stir well. Mix in remaining 2 cups of flour and set aside for 2 mins. Dough will be very sticky.
Scrape dough onto the bench top and knead for 2 minutes, using a dough scraper to scoop it up and throw it back down. Cover with an up-turned bowl and rest for 2 minutes, then repeat throw-kneading and resting two more times. It’s important to not add any extra flour at this point — the dough will get more cohesive after each rest, I promise.
Spread dough out with the heel of your hand and cover evenly with dried fruit and peel, knead one more time and form into a ball. Drizzle a bit of extra oil into the bowl, turn dough to coat, cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough and divide into 3 even pieces. Knead beet puree and 2 Tbsp extra flour into one piece. Knead spinach puree and 2 Tbsp flour into second piece. Knead turmeric into third piece but don’t add any extra flour (if using beet powder or green powder per the notes below don’t add the extra flour for those either, although you can add a few drops of water if the dough seems too dry). Place each colour dough into a separate bowl with a drizzle of extra oil, turn to coat, cover and leave to rise 45 mins to an hour until doubled.
Lightly oil sides of a roasting pan and line base with baking (parchment) paper. Turn out doughs and roll each colour into a long (roughly 24 inches / 60 cm) snake. Braid the three coloured snakes together, then fold braid in half onto itself, twist a few times and squeeze with your hands to compress into a single coil.
Cut rainbow swirl dough snake into 12 pieces (approx 90 g each if that’s your thing), roll into balls and place in prepared pan. Cover lightly with oiled baking paper, let rise 30 minutes then preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Once buns have doubled in size (about 45 mins), stir flour and water for crosses to a smooth paste and use a plastic baggie with the corner snipped off to pipe on in a grid pattern — for swirled crosses smear a bit of extra purees, or powders mixed with a few drops of water, into the baggie before spooning in the flour paste.
Bake 18 – 20 minutes until golden. Cool 10 mins in pan, turn out onto rack, brush still-warm buns with the warm jam (strained if you wish) and leave to cool completely.
- To make beet puree, steam or roast fresh beets then peel and blend until very, very smooth. Use extra to dye easter eggs, or for porridge or even pie. Yes, you could use beet powder instead, start with 2 tsp.
- To make spinach puree, defrost frozen spinach then blend with a bit of lemon juice and only as much water as is absolutely necessary until smooth. I haven’t tried powdered greens or spirulina or matcha (probably 1 – 2 tsp) to see how the colour holds up when baked but they should work – especially the matcha.
- This little trick makes it easy to remove the orange peel, alternatively you can use candied peel if you wish.
vegetarian // whole grain // dairy-free // nut-free // refined sugar-free