Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns from Taste Love & Nourish

I wish I could tell you I had memories of hot cross buns with their sweet white icing at every Easter dinner table. I don’t. We stuffed ourselves with so much Armenian Easter bread, that even one of these little rolls may have done us in. It’s a shame, really, because as much as I adore our Armenian bread, these rolls are admittedly wonderful. I just love the warm mixture of spices, like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom. Their flavor is really like a whisper, but, that moment you take a bite, you’ll wonder…what is that flavor? The dough is only slightly sweet, but you get these wonderful pops of sweetness from the icing and dots of currants.

These sweet little rolls are not difficult to make and once you’ve risen the dough, creating the buns is a task even little hands can handle. And just think, if you let your children help you make these, someday they’ll have wonderful memories of hot cross buns with sweet white icing at every Easter dinner table.

Hot Cross Buns from Taste Love & Nourish

Hot Cross Buns

1 C. milk
2 1/4 t. active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
3 3/4 C. bread flour
1/3 C. + 1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. cardamom
1/4 t. nutmeg
4 T. butter, softened
2 large eggs
zest of one orange
1/2 C. currants, soaked in a small bowl with 1 T. orange juice

Egg Wash
1 large egg yolk
1 t. water (or milk)

Icing
1/3 C. confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 t. milk

In a heat resistant bowl or measuring cup, warm the milk in the microwave for a minute and a half. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the sugar, then sprinkle in the yeast. Give it a light stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes. The mixture should be nice and bubbly after that time.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and the spices in a large mixing bowl or the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the dry ingredients to combine. Add the yeast mixture, butter, eggs, orange zest and currants along with any orange juice remaining in the bowl. Mix to combine, using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Once combined, switch to the dough hook or place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand. Knead with the dough hook for 4 to 5 minutes or a bit longer by hand. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and keep in a draft free spot to rise for 3 hours.

Place the dough on a very lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half. Roll one half out into a log 12 inches long. Cut the log in half. Continue cutting each piece of the log in half until you have 8 pieces. Take one piece and roll the sides down a bit to form a smooth ball. Pinch the ends under and place the ball on a lightly greased baking sheet, or line with parchment. Continue with the remaining pieces, placing them 2 inches apart on the sheet. Repeat the process with the second half of the dough until 16 pieces have been formed. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to rise again for 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

With a sharp knife, score each bun with a cross pattern.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with either water or milk to create an egg wash. Brush each bun with the wash. Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes.

Allow to cool completely.

Mix the icing in a small bowl and transfer into a small zipper bag. Snip the very tip of the bag and pipe the icing into a cross pattern onto each bun.

Makes 16 buns.

Hot Cross Buns from Taste Love & Nourish

 

Hot Cross Buns from Taste Love & Nourish

Beet and Potato Salad (Salade Russe)

Beet and Potato Salad (Salade Russe) from Taste Love & Nourish

This salad brings back so many memories for me…

My Mom and Dad entertained a lot. As soon as the last guest would leave, my sisters and I would bee-line to the kitchen. Like a production line, we’d empty out the fridge of all of the “party” food, rip the plastic wrap off of everything and sit around the table noshing. I have no idea how this routine ever began, but I so enjoyed it. I was really little, but I do know, that the Salade Russe was always my most favorite post-party-midnight-snack. My Mom made this often when she entertained. I remember it being on every holiday table my entire life.

Let’s address the white pink elephant in the room, shall we? As I photographed this, I kept wondering what you’d think of a pink potato salad. I get it. It’s odd. Truly, this is incredibly delicious. So much so, that I will confess, I ate so much of it after setting up my photo shoot…then rushed to get it done so I could eat some more. And…really, with spring and Easter celebrations around the corner, wouldn’t this be the perfect shade of pink? *wink-wink*

Salade Russe or Russian Salad has so many variations. Some include beets, but the original did not. You may never find two identical recipes. They can include any combination of vegetables and some even include pickles and meats. Its roots date back to the 1800′s, created by a famous chef in Moscow. It is actually a very popular salad in most of Europe. In the United States, traditional potato salad is commonplace, this version…not so much. Let’s change that.

I’ve lightened up my Mom’s recipe. In place of mayonnaise, I use a nice thick Greek yogurt. I do add a smidgen of mayo just for a bit of flavor, but you can certainly leave it out. Traditional Salade Russe is made with vinegar and a bit of mustard. I love the freshness of lemon instead. It adds a nice brightness that you can’t get from the vinegar.

Beet and Potato Salad (Salade Russe) from Taste Love & Nourish

Beet and Potato Salad (Salade Russe)

1 lb. russet potatoes (about 2 large), cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 C. frozen peas, thawed in a colander
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/2 C. celery heart with leaves, finely sliced
1 large carrot, finely diced
8 oz. roasted beets (about 3 beets), cut into 1/2 inch dice
3 T. fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 C. non fat plain Greek yogurt
1 T. mayonnaise
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. sea salt
1/2 t. black pepper

In a medium saucepan, add the cubes of potato and cover with water to an inch above the potatoes. Add a bit of sea salt to the water. Place the pan on high heat on the stove and bring to a rapid boil, stirring occasionally. Once the water boils, the potatoes will cook quickly, in about 2 to 3 minutes (or longer if the cubes are larger). Test by sticking a fork in the center of a cube. If it splits, it’s done. Immediately, remove from the heat and drain in a colander. Rinse the potatoes gently with cold water to stop the cooking. Set colander of potatoes aside.

Once you are done chopping all of your vegetables, whisk to combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chopped vegetables and the potatoes to the bowl. Gently, using a rubber spatula, fold to combine all of the ingredients. Chill in the fridge for several hours before serving.

Serves 6

    Notes:

  • This salad is even better the next day and the color deepens as well. Just give it a nice toss before serving.
  • For entertaining a larger crowd, feel free to double this recipe.
  • You can roast your own beets or look for pre-cooked beets packaged in the produce section.

 

Beet and Potato Salad (Salade Russe) from Taste Love & Nourish