Bread · Pastry

Hot Cross Buns with Marzipan & Currants

With chocolate bows and lemon gel, these really are the quirkiest spring pastry. # 121: Hot Cross Buns with Marzipan & Currants

Happy spring! My walk to BART in the mornings have been full of gorgeous crocuses, daffodils and cherry trees in bloom. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

April showers bring May flowers, but what do May flowers bring?

Pilgrims! If you got that right, then you are worthy of making these delicious little buns. I tried making them two years ago (flashback!) with okay results. Mostly the lighting was really poor so my photos were super dim, but I remember the buns themselves being pretty tasty. 

I got this recipe from the lovely Thida Bevington, though I swapped out the chocolate chunks for currants. I know, I know – what was I thinking?? Well I had the perfect amount of currants and it just seemed like a yummy combo. Just look at the oozy marzipan, noms.

Exactly 500 grams, on the mark! Still love my little scale, it’s just so useful.

I get my marzipan at Ikea in blocks. (I think this one was in my stocking this last Christmas – Santa knows me so well.) It looks like butter in the photo, but it’s pure almond-y goodness.

A mound of dough, dreaming about it’s glorious future.

But first, it has to be dressed up in finery. I chopped the marzipan into bite-sized chunks and kneaded it with the currants into the dough.

While it rose in the corner, I made my lemon gel. I wanted to be certain it would hold it’s shape, so I used gelatin. I could have just used lemon Jello from the mix, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I softened the gelatin in water, threw in some lemon juice, yellow food dye and honey for flavor and popped it in the freezer to set. Normally, the fridge will set it just fine, but I didn’t want to wait the three or so hours it required.

Jiggly perfection. I put it in a piping bag and set it aside til the buns were cooled and ready to decorate.

Once puffed, I sectioned the dough out into twelve chunks and rolled them into balls.

It took some convincing to get the currants to not jump ship. My second rising didn’t gain much height, but I baked em anyway. I might let them rest a little longer than 45 minutes on the second proof next time to see if it makes a difference. Stay tuned.

They came out fragrant and just asking to be decorated. I’ve never had chocolate piped on top, but Thida’s looked so cute, I just had to try it. And chocolate and marzipan are such a great combo so it seemed necessary. I’d love to throw in dried cherries next time instead of currants. Wouldn’t that be yum?

Happy munching!

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