Roxana Jullapat is the pastry chef at Ammo Cafe in Hollywood (1155 North Highland Ave.). She adds candied kumquats (recipe) to her hot cross buns for Easter. She uses almond paste (marzipan) for the cross. Try Fat Uncle Farms marzipan, available at Southern California farmers markets.
Hot Cross Buns with Candied Kumquats and California Almond Paste
Hot Cross Buns just got a make over. With the addition of candied kumquats in the dough, decorated with crosses made out of California almond paste, and glazed with a coating of kumquat syrup, this Easter classic never had it this good.
For the dough:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, lukewarm
1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoon dry active yeast
3 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
¼ cup minced candied kumquats (no seeds)
For the crosses:
5 ounces California almond paste
For the glaze:
1 cup kumquat candying syrup
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Rain the yeast over the lukewarm milk, stir and let proof for 5 minutes until the yeast is fully dissolved. In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the yeast mixture with half the flour on low speed. Then add the remaining flour along with the sugar, salt, fennel seeds, egg and butter. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes. Add the kumquats and mix until thoroughly combined. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly coated with non-stick spray, wrap with plastic film and let rise until double in size, about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
While the dough is rising, shape your crosses. Divide the almond paste into 5 portions and roll each portion on a flat surface into a thin 15-inch long rope. Cut each rope into five 3-inch long pieces. Form 12 crosses by placing one 3-inch piece across another. Place crosses over a cookie sheet and cover to prevent them from drying out.
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.
Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide it into 12 portions, about 3 ounces each, and roll them into balls. Place a cross over each ball, pressing it gently onto the ball with the palm of your hand. Arrange buns on a baking sheet in 3 rows of 4 buns each -buns should be about 3/4–inch apart from each other; buns will start to touch one another as they proff. Cover the buns loosely with plastic film and let them proof in a warm spot of the kitchen for about 35 minutes. Buns are ready to be baked when if gently pressed, they won’t spring back. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and continue to bake for another 12 minutes or until evenly golden.
While the buns are baking, prepare the glaze. Put kumquat syrup, rum and butter in a saucepan, bring up to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and set aside. Once the buns come out of the oven, brush them generously with the glaze while still warm. Let them cool completely before serving. Enjoy!