Sticking to a gluten free diet isn’t straightforward. I think that eating out is the only thing that is really hard and I’ve yet to perfect it. On the whole though the diet is easy to maintain and the only two things that I’m still crying over are croissants and baklava. That said there are some everyday foods have really bad gluten free replacements. I often wonder whether the companies that develop these foods have actually tasted them. Gluten free alternatives, for pasta and bread especially, can be pretty hopeless. I’ve found that the San Remo gluten free pasta is the best one I’ve tried. The gluten free bread from Deeks in Canberra is the only one I think is worth paying for. That covers my daily diet, but special occasions call for a host of treats that I’d love to be able to enjoy. At Christmas time my truly remarkable grandmother makes both fruit cake and pudding for me and my uncle (the coeliacs of the family). The pudding is particularly special because it tastes exactly like the real thing.
Now that it’s Easter I haven’t got a feast of baked treats from my grandmother, so I thought I’d make something myself. With the smells wafting from the toaster at tea time at this time of year I’ve been really jealous of people eating hot cross buns. To satisfy my cravings I’ve made this gluten free hot cross bun recipe by adapting a recipe for a fruit loaf.
The recipe I adapted came from a wonderful woman at the NSW Coeliac Society. It works quite well, but I’d suggest going for some stronger flavours. More spices, more fruit and maybe even some peel would improve the flavour out of sight. I’m presenting the recipe to you now though, even though I haven’t quite perfected it, because Easter is upon us. The method is very similar to the gluten free bread rolls I posted about earlier. Remember that the “dough” needs to be the consistency of a cake mix, so you’ll need to check it a few minutes in and add water or flour if required.
I used the dough cycle on my bread machine to prepare the dough.
Then I spooned it into large muffin pans to rise before I put on the Easter crosses. I allowed the buns to rise for half an hour, then added the crosses before I baked them. My cross mix was made from flour and water and was quite runny. I found it difficult to put it on with a teaspoon, so I think a thicker mix would be easier to manage. A piping bag would also help with this job.
The buns came out of one of my pans more easily than the other. I suppose that proves it’s worth paying for good quality non-stick finishes.
The hot cross buns were beautiful fresh from the oven with raspberry jam. I’ll definitely add more fruit and spices next time though. I’d like to replicate the smell of a real hot cross bun more accurately.
Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp white vinegar
3 eggs (60 g)
480-500 mL water
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup besan flour
1 cup arrowroot
2 cups white rice flour
1 tab castor sugar
3 tabs brown sugar
1 tab xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon (I’d double this in future, and maybe add mixed spice and ginger too)
2 tsp dry yeast
3/4 cup sultanas (I’d go for 1 to 1 1/2 cups next time)
rice flour and water, mixed to a paste
Add the wet ingredients in the order listed.
Add the dry ingredients, in order, yeast last.
Add the fruit to the fruit dispenser if you have one, or add when the machine beeps.
Run in the bread machine on the dough cycle (which takes around 1 hour, 30 mins).
Spread the mixture between two muffin pans, filling each cup to 1/2-2/3 full. This makes 12 buns.
Preheat oven to 180-200 Celcius.
Allow the buns to rise for 30 minutes. They should reach the top of the pans.
Top the buns with crosses made from rice flour paste.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Makes 12 hot cross buns.