EGG-citing Tropical Hot Cross Buns

Although in the blogging world, it probably is a given that Hot Cross Buns are traditionally served on Good Friday or Easter Sunday, I only learned of it this year. The rolls got their names from the crosses piped on top, signifying the resurrection of Christ. Don’t be surprised that I am not the only one unaware of this! haha.. Except for a select number of bakeries advertising Hot Cross Buns on their display, almost no one else in Vancouver knew they were traditional rolls for Easter, even the ones who were born here! Some of my Catholic friends were even in disbelief until I Wikipedia-ed it for them.

I compared two recipes; allrecipes and Good Housekeeping Cookbook – Classic Home Cooking, then decided to add some tropical flavour of my own!! When I first saw that Hot Cross Buns were this month’s challenge by The Little Loaf for Fresh From the Oven, I was pretty excited about it! Unfortunately, I am really not the biggest fan of currants / raisins and any addition of it would bear severe reluctance. Sorry guys! But all is not lost! Alas, we still have other alternatives to dried fruits, like CHERRIES and MANGOS! I made both, but I’m only going to post up the recipe for the mango one which I thought was softer and prettier! The “cherry + mango combination” ones tasted really good too but that recipe yielded a more scone-like texture instead of the soft, fluffy texture I was looking for. If you like, you could add 1/3 cup to these soft and fluffy tropical hot cross buns 🙂

Left: Mango and Cherry Hot Cross Buns using another recipe
Right: Mango Hot Cross Buns with below recipe

Here is the interior view of both my Hot Cross Buns. As you can see, the one on the left yielded a dense, more scone-like texture, whereas the one on the right yielded a much softer and tender texture. So, without further ado, here is the recipe!

(Somewhat) Tropical Hot Cross Buns

Soft and fluffy, just like little Easter bunnies!

makes 9 buns (feel free to double the recipe)
  • 1/2 cup warm coconut milk (not too hot or you might kill the yeast!)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2  1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup butter (softened!)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice (if you don’t have this, you could use some nutmeg, cardamom and cloves, 1/8 tsp each)
  • 2 cups and 2 tablespoons bread flour
  • zest of half an orange (optional)
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried mangos
  • 1/3 cup chopped cherries (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon bread flour for kneading

Glaze

  • 1 yolk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk

Crosses

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut milk

Directions

Ensure that all your ingredients are measured and prepared before you start. Read through the directions prior to beginning to gauge I used my KA for this, but you could definitely do it by hand too!

  1. In a bowl, combine warm coconut milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a separate large stand mixer bowl, beat 1 egg and 1 egg white.
  3. Add in softened butter, remaining sugar, both spices and yeast mixture, then beat on low speed until just blended. (make sure your butter isn’t in big chunks!)
  4. Using a hook pedal, add flour in gradually, about 1/2 cup at a time until blended, stirring on LOW speed. When you are within your last 1/2 cup of flour, add in dried mangos, desiccated coconut, (optional) cherries and (optional) orange zest. If you add in too much flour, your dough will not be sticky and your buns will not yield a soft texture.
  5. Knead your dough for about 3 minutes, then place it in a bowl lightly coated with oil and cover with a plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 1 -1.5 hours. Mine only took 1 hour.
  6. When your dough has doubled in size, punch the dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 3 minutes, then divide into 9 equal pieces.

    Before rising. I like to place mine close together to give "pull-apart" effect

  7. Set your buns in 3 rows of 3. Leave little gap between them to achieve the “pull-apart” effect. Cover and let rise until they touch one another.
  8. While waiting for your buns to rise, make the glaze and crosses for piping.
  9. After your bread has risen, use a scissor or knife to make a “cross” incision across your buns. Brush your glaze on the buns and then pipe the crosses on.

    Making your incisions and piping

  10. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until top browns

I guess I left mine in for a little longer than I should and hence the top browned a little more than I would have liked. Nevertheless, the buns were soft and very flavourful! I could definitely taste the spice as well as its tropical flavours! A friend said she never liked hot cross buns but really loved this when she tried it. I guess we’re all not very big fans of currants which was quite essential for traditional hot cross buns!

I’m a little notorious for bastardizing traditional recipes when I dislike certain ingredients. But hey! Where’s the fun in baking if you don’t get a say in your own ingredients, right? 😀

I am aware the post is a little late since Easter has been long gone! But if you ever feel like some delicious hot cross buns with dried mangos, you know where to go! I’ll definitely be using this recipe again. Fresh bread from the oven never tastes the same as those packaged in supermarkets. True story!!

Hope you guys have a wonderful week ahead!

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