The other week, as happens every Easter, I found myself completely unable to contribute to my friends' conversation about how excited they were that hot cross buns were FINALLY in the supermarkets. At least in Australia, I think we can all agree that they're somewhat of a cult item, and that there is definitely such a thing as hot cross bun season. Some may argue that supermarkets are extending said season for profit making purposes, others may rebut that the longer HCB season the better, I myself prefer not to get involved in the heated debate.
While I've heard that some supermarkets now cater to the gluten free HCB lovers amongst us, I myself am having a bit of success with a grain free diet while I await the next round of tests in the seemingly never ending quest to get to the bottom of my digestive woes.
With all that in mind, I heard an advertisement on the radio spruiking apple and cinnamon hot cross buns, and I decided to be the master of my own destiny, and make myself some gluten free, grain free HCBS like the independent woman I am. They're also FODMAP friendlier (only one apple divided between 6 buns) and close enough to refined sugar free, if you decide not to use the white chocolate for the cross, although you definitely should, because who wants to eat flour when they could be eating white chocolate instead. Nobody, that's who.
While all the 'frees' often makes you wonder what you're missing out on, I am exceptionally happy with these HCBS and I don't think they taste like missing out. They're more dense and cake-like (Mum likened them to Stollen HCBS) than the variety you'd be used to if your digestion isn't shit, so you really only need one at a time. As with most gluten free baking, they do go dry quite quickly, but zap them in the microwave or even, spread some butter on and it's business as usual.
INGREDIENTS - makes 6 large and in charge or seven lil HCBS
3 cups almond meal
1 cup tapioca flour
4 1/2 - 5 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 sachet of yeast (the full sachets are 7.5g grams I believe)
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar (I used brown)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped into small squares
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Extra butter and maple syrup, to glaze
30g white chocolate
1. In a small saucepan, heat your chopped apple with the cinnamon stick, water and maple syrup, over a low medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the apples are soft but still firm in shape. Take them off the heat and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in whatever way you choose. I don't have a microwave so I use the double boiler method. Once it's melted, add the mixed spice, cinnamon and maple syrup and stir well.
3. In a small bowl, add your 1/2 sachet of yeast, 1/4 cup water and teaspoon of sugar, and leave to sit for around 10 minutes, or until it's foamy and bubbly.
4. In a large bowl, combine your almond meal and tapioca flour, followed by the butter mixture, and the active yeast. Stir thoroughly until it is all combined and a sticky dough has formed.
5. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it in a warm place for one hour. If it's cold where you are, you might like to leave it by the heater or turn the oven on. I sat mine in a towel outside in the sun.
6. Shortly before the hour is up, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
7. Once the hour is in fact up, take your dough and throw the apple in. Gently mix it all together, and then divide the mixture evenly into six balls. It should be easy to pick up and easy to mould without getting your hands sticky.
8. Once you've rolled all the buns, arrange them in a little hugging format on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Mix equal parts melted butter and maple syrup, and generously glaze each bun with the mix. Pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes. If you've made the smaller buns, go for a maximum of 20 minutes.
9. Once the buns are done, allow them to cool completely, before crossing them with melted white chocolate.