Prep 1 hr
Cook 2 hrs 35 mins
Nick Malgieri, for Easter
- 1⁄2 cup milk
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1⁄2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 2⁄3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut into 10 pieces
- 1 large egg
- 2⁄3 cup currants (or a mixture of the two) or 2⁄3 cup raisins (or a mixture of the two)
- 1⁄4 cup finely diced candied orange peel
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2⁄3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons water
- Line 1 cookie sheet with parchment or foil.
- Sponge: heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is just lukewarm, no more than 110°.
- Pour the warm milk into a medium bowl; whisk in the yeast.
- Use a rubber spatula to stir in the flour, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap; let the sponge ferment until it is bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.
- Once the sponge is ready, prepare the dough: combine flour, sugar, salt, and spices in a bowl of an electric mixer and stir well to mix.
- Place on the mixer with the paddle attachment and add the butter.
- Mix until the butter is finely worked in, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape in the sponge; add the egg and return to the mixer with the paddle.
- Mix on lowest speed for 2 minutes; stop mixer and allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.
- Mix the dough again on medium speed until it is smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes.
- Decrease speed to lowest and add the currants or raisins and candied fruit; mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
- Scrape the dough into a buttered bowl and turn the dough over so that the top is buttered.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and press it into a rough square; divided the dough into 12 equal pieces with a knife or bench scraper.
- Round each piece by pressing it under the palm of your hand as you rotate your hand around the dough.
- Arrange the buns on the prepared pan and press a cross into the top of each bun with the back of a blade of a table knife.
- Cover the pan with a towel or buttered plastic wrap and allow the buns to rise until they are almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
- About 15 minute before the buns are completely risen, set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 375°.
- Bake the buns until they are deep golden and feel light, about 15-20 minutes.
- Just before the buns are finished baking, bring the sugar and water for the glaze to a boil; brush the glaze on the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.
- Slide the paper from the pan to a rack to cool the buns.
- Icing: combine the powdered sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir well to mix.
- Place over low heat, and stir until the icing is just warm to the touch.
- Scraped the icing into a paper cone or a small plastic bag and snip the corner.
- Pipe a cross on the top of each cooled bun, following the indentation made before baking; let the icing dry for 30 minutes before serving.
- Storage: keep the buns under a cake dome at room temperature on the day they are baked; they are really best when perfectly fresh.
- For advance prep: bake the buns, but do not apply glaze or icing; cool the buns, then freeze them in a plastic bag.
- Before serving, defrost the buns, place them on a cookie sheet and reheat them at 350° for 5 minutes.
- Then apply the glaze and icing as previously instructed.