Maddingly good Hot Cross Buns

Hallo and Happy Easter! A fave of mine and a whole lot of people across this big, blue marble for this time is Hot Cross buns. In my humble opinion, a bun, a good, warm sticky bun is a treat that MUST be had on occasion. The ones where you lick your fingers from the glaze and it just gets even stickier! Sooo good! Anyway, even though I am not at home (just yet) to make these goodies, I thought that I would look at some recipes and see if there was one that called out to me.

I had tried a couple years ago and to be honest I went through a LOT of trial and a WHOLE LOT of errors. Ask my family….they were insanely tired of me running after them, begging them to just try a piece, please take a bite, I promise this one is better than the last…..on and on. I did finally find one that I had liked and had actually worked for me. My dad, while browsing through the newspaper, found a recipe and bless his soul, showed it to me and said “Try this one.” I did. It worked. It actually worked! I had finally cracked the hot cross bun secret society!

They were insanely good out of the oven, and once they cooled down just the wee bit, they were awesome, all warm and gooey-ooey. They probably were not the greatest the day after, but thankfully not many lasted til next day anyway:) As I mentioned, I was browsing for another recipe and seeing if I could find another that called out to me. After all it has been years since I wanted to try to make buns again. Well, it seems as if I may have found the one. Thank goodness for the miracle of social media and the times that we live in. There were videos showing the entire process, so I could actually see how the buns turned out, before I took my precious ingredients and even more precious time and proceeded to test out their version.

In all honesty, I have not yet tried this version, but I am going to for sure! The video looks really good, the recipe seems to be super easy-peasy (no mixer involved) and it comes from a web site that is my go-oo when it comes to foods with a Trini flavor!

So, with no further ado, I give you……

“Traditional Hot Cross Buns” from eatahfoodtt.com

** Just a note, that these (as Renee the chef points out) are the traditional version and the crosses are made with a flour paste. I am thinking if you are not a fan, you could always pipe the crosses on after with you own favorite frosting. Cream cheese frosting does come to mind mmmmmm…..

This would so be an excellent choice to bake today! Have a great day all!

xo, Lisa

Traditional Hot Cross Buns from eatahfoodtt.com

How can a Trinidadian not like pepper?

Yup, it’s true. I do NOT like pepper. Actually more to the point, I cannot handle pepper. It gives me heartburn and terrible tummy cramps. I am talking hot sauce or pepper sauce as we refer to it in Trinidad. The really ironic part? I make it. Even more ironic-er is that my husband consumes it like it is gravy or ketchup. Bearing in mind he is Finnish and has only come to know the sauce in recent years, he went from eating tabasco and thinking that that is super hot, to eating Scorpion peppers from Trinidad.

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper are reputed to be one of the hottest peppers on the planet. We actually held the world record for a while there, weighing in at a whopping 1.2 million Scoville heat units. Which is all to say, it’s freaking hot!

Some of the peppers ready to be transformed into pepper sauce

Back to the sauce, simple enough to make and depending on how many peppers you use will decide how “hot” the condiment turns out to be. To be honest there is no real recipe for this (at least for me) its a glug of this, a dash of that. A pour of sugar and as many peppers as you like or as can fit into the blender. The ingredients are essentially oil, sugar, white vinegar, salt, mustard (preferably yellow or sweet yellow) and of course the peppers πŸ™‚

This of course tends to go well with the aforementioned doubles πŸ™‚ But if you are anything like my husband it pretty much goes on anything except probably cereal! There are the standard comment I get at work when I say that I cannot eat anything spicy is always “But you are a Trinidadian!” Well, half anyway, but still I want to like it I do, I make the thing for goodness sake! But I simply cannot handle it and do not fully appreciate the joy of the burning sensation in the mouth, the runny nose and the watering eyes. The looking for something to cool off your tongue as it feels like it on fire. Sorry, I miss it, but I so don’t miss it.

Bake good choices today folks!

xo, Lisa

Can you have a single Doubles?

Before you say yes, ask yourself…”Have I ever had a really good doubles?” Of course, this may be the second question you ask yourself. The first one for many a non Caribbean person, the first question may well be, “what on earth is (or are) a doubles?”

Well, remembering this is only my blog and not an official site for national treasures, a doubles is a food that many a Trinidadian consider a staple. There are some Trinis that do not like doubles (GASP) and cannot see what the rave is about, but for those of us that do enjoy the delicacy, doubles is a must.

So, to get to the point, and according to a Google translation, “doubles is a common street food originating from Trinidad and Tobago. Doubles are made with two baras and filled with curried channa and various chutneys.” A bara is a deep fried dough resembling a flat bread, think pita but hand-sized. The channa filling is well-spiced curried chick-peas.

danis-doubles

Doubles made by my awesome sister, Danielle!

Below is the recipe for the bara (the flat-bread deep fried dough).

https://eatahfoodtt.com/simplylocal/doubles/

Recipe from Chef Brigette Joseph @chefbrigetterj

Ingredients

2 cups of flour

Β½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

ΒΌ tsp tumeric

1 tsp yeast

2 tsp light or dark brown sugar

lukewarm water

oil for frying

DIRECTIONS

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and tumeric together in a medium sized bowl with a fork to ensure that the tumeric is combined throughout.

Add brown sugar and yeast to mixture and mix further.

Add water to the flour mixture in steps to ensure that you don’t add too much and make the dough too wet. Add just enough to combine the flour and using your hand to bring the dough together.

The dough will look a bit shaggy, but at this point you can add a drop of water to bring it all together and knead for about 5 minutes til it makes a nice ball. The dough will have a very light yellow hue at this point, do not worry, it will get more yellow as it rests.

Place dough ball at the bottom of a bowl (you can use the same mixing bowl) and cover with oil.

Cover bowl with a towel and let rise for about an hour. While dough is rising, prepare container lined with paper towels and a dish towel to hold your fried bara and place the container next to the stove.

To Fry:

After the dough has risen to about double in size, pinch off pieces of dough about the size of a ping-pong ball and place the small balls on a greased tray to wait for shaping and frying. 

Pour vegetable oil into a deep pot to fry bara, about 2 inches deep as you don’t need much for frying.

Rub some oil on a flat surface (preferably close to the pot with the oil) that has been cleaned and sanitized.

Place a dough ball on the greased counter-top and using your fingertips, flatten into a circular disc until very thin. It will be very sticky, so use oil to grease your fingertips. You can flatten a couple of these while your oil heats up as it fried very quickly.

Place bara dough with two hands into the oil very carefully.

2 SECONDS LATER using a pair of tongs, flip bara in oil for an additional ONE SECOND and remove from oil quickly (but carefully).

Place in the draining bowl and cover with a dish towel. Repeat until all balls of dough are fried.

Makes 20-22 palm-sized bara

If you cannot get the true, authentic version right now, then making them is a must. You will thank me for it. Bake good choices folks!

xo, Lisa