Easter Vegan Saffron & Date Hot Cross Buns

Easter Vegan Saffron & Date Hot Cross Buns


for the dough

100g boiling water
0.5g BakeryBits saffron powder or filaments
200g coconut milk, tinned is good
150g plantain, very ripe; or ripe banana
8 drops Arancio Extra Calabria - Orange Essence, or Fiori di Sicilia Essential Oil, or the finely grated zest of an orange
7g Saf Levure Active Dried Yeast
430g Matthews 100% Canadian Strong White Flour
100g Matthews Organic Wholemeal Flour
8g fine salt
2g (1 1/2 tsp) allspice
0.7g (1/2 tsp) mixed spice
100g soft dates or prunes, chopped
100g raisins or dried tropical fruit mix
80g BakeryBits candied citron peel

for the cross, optional

20g Matthews 100% Canadian Strong White Flour
20g water
1 tsp soft brown sugar
5g oil
½ tsp ground cinnamon

for the glaze, optional

1 tsp ground cinnamon
80g orange juice
1 tsp soft brown sugar

veganI’m always looking for ways to create Easter bakes that are big on flavour and a joy to eat but are a little healthier at the same time. Hot Cross Buns traditionally have added sugar but as dried fruit are intensely sweet, so you don’t need any extra. The dates in particular give a warm rich sugar hit. I’ve lived in various African countries and finding butter was often an issue. I looked for different ways of providing a rich or creamy addition to cakes or breads and found ripe plantain to be a winner. The plantain has to be really ripe and, like banana, it adds moisture and helps give a smooth rich texture. Mixed with coconut milk you get a luxurious hot-cross bun without the need for butter.

Makes 9


Pour the boiling water onto the saffron in a jug and leave 10 minutes to infuse. Then using a hand or stand blender whizz the saffron water with the coconut milk, plantain (or banana), Arancio Extra Calabria - Orange Essence, and yeast until smooth.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flours, salt, and spices. Pour in the saffron & plantain liquid and mix together to a shaggy dough. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Knead for 6-8 mins (easiest in a stand mixer as it is a very sticky dough) until very smooth and elastic. Add the dates, raisins and candied peel and knead for another minute. Cover and leave for 45 minutes (at about 25C, somewhere warm).

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, divide into 9 pieces (about 130g each), and roll into tight balls. Place these on a lined baking tray spaced about 1cm apart. Cover and leave somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size (mine took an hour at about 28C in the Brod & Taylor proving box)

While the buns are rising make the crosses by beating together the flour, water, oil, sugar, and cinnamon then transfer to a piping bag.

Once the buns have doubled in size, heat the oven to 200C fan. Pipe over the crosses and bake for 15 minutes or until risen and a golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Tip: Cover them with a cloth as soon as they're warm, so as they get cold they don't dry out. Store in an airtight container.

To make the glaze simmer the cinnamon, orange juice, and brown sugar on a medium heat until reduced by three-quarters. Brush on the warm buns and allow to cool before eating.

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