17th April 2014 Helen 4Comment

For anyone in Dublin this weekend I’d highly recommend you get yourself St Anne’s Park in Raheny for the Battle of Clontarf millennium festivities.

We popped up today to get a sneaky peak of the set up. With two days to go until the battle re-enactments, the set-up is unbelievable and the atmosphere is great. Already the park is filled with tents, props and armies. There’s an entire camp full of freezing Vikings staying there and running displays of crafts, fighting and just camp life. On Saturday and Sunday the main events will be re-enactments of the Battle as well as more stalls and fairgrounds.

This has the makings of a lovely family day out so fair play to all involved and fingers crossed for sunshine. Check out www.clontarf.ie for information – and if, like me, you need to brush up on a little of the history behind this whole thing all the information is right there.

Ahead of our trip to the park, I made a nice batch of Hot Cross Buns. Handily you can mix these in the morning, leave them to rise and pop in the oven late morning. They’re also yum toasted the next day – if they survive, fabulous with a cuppa tea and a million times nicer than the shop bought ones.

Needless to say having been very popular with the kids last year, they hated them today. I may have loved about four of them.

I’ve messed around with various recipes over the years but here’s the recipe that works for me (not least as I never gave chopped candied peel, which features in most recipes, to hand).

Hot Cross Buns (makes about 12)
450g strong white bread flour
1 level tsp salt
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
1 level tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
7g fast-action yeast
50g butter, melted
50g caster sugar
150ml milk, warm
5 tbsp water, warm
I large egg
75g currants
Lemon essence
Orange essence

(1) Shortcrust pastry for the crosses: 50g plain flour, 25g soft butter, water.
(2) Glaze: 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp water

1. Add the flour, salt, spices, yeast and sugar into a bowl and mix.

2. Mix the butter, milk and water with the egg and add to the dry ingredients.

3. Add the raisins and 4 or 5 drops of the lemon and orange essence.  Mix well to form a sticky dough.

4. Using a dough hook on an electric mixer, mix the dough until it is smooth and elastic (this takes about 4 minutes). If kneading by hand, turn the mixture onto a well-floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until it reaches this stage.

5. Place the kneaded dough in a well oiled large bowl (use sunflower oil, not olive oil). Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise at room temperature and away from draughts, for about 1.5 hours or until doubled in size.

6. If using pastry for the crosses, mix the flour and butter together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the water a few drops at a time until the pastry starts to come together.  As it does, scoop it into a small plastic bag and knead into a ball. Put it in the fridge to rest. Remove from the fridge about 10 minutes before the bun dough is ready.

7. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 2 minutes stretching the dough.

8. Divide the dough into 12 portions.  Shape each portion into a square shape.  If using the dough, roll it and cut it into long skinny strips making sure each strip is long enough to tuck underneath the buns, allowing for shrinkage.  If not using pastry, you can just cut a small cross on the top of each bun.

9. Put the buns on the tray. Cover with a plastic bag or oiled cling film. Set aside for 30 minutes to rise.

10. Preheat oven to 220°C / fan 200°C / gas 7.

11. Bake the buns for 15 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped. As the buns are baking, if you are using the glaze, melt the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Be careful! This takes only a minute and can burn quickly.  As you take the buns from the oven, glaze them.

Leave the buns to cool. Slather with butter and eat the lot!


Looking for some Easter activities or just a good read over the weekend? Check out these blog posts by the Irish Parenting Bloggers…

Dr. How has a run down of her favourite eggy experiments that are guaranteed to keep biggies and littlies occupied over the weekend, here.

Dairy Free Kids has two really handy round ups of dairy free options this Easter (which I know has already saved one particular boyfriend’s bacon), here and here.

Caroline at My Country Girl Ramblings has stories of magic beans and free Easter printables here.

Learner Mama has been mad enough to introduce Hama Beads round her place (see here), and has a great piece on the things she loves and hates about the school holidays, here.

Two gorgeous ladies rock some funky Easter Bonnets over at Where Wishes Come From, here.

Office Mum wonders (and I’m with her on this one) whether there IS an Easter Bunny here.

And over at Dolly Dowsie little Tyler Lee has a new Easter Basket, here.


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4 thoughts on “Hot Cross Buns and Vikings in the Park

    1. Blogger really is taking the pee A when it gobbles the Blogger’s own responses!!! They were truly divine and served as a great starter to the three easter eggs I ate over the weekend! (none of which were delivered by the Easter Bunny!) x

  1. Oh sound so delicious, you make it sound so easy!! Have never made hot cross buns, yet!! I need to be allowed back into my kitchen and give them a go!

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