Spring is finally upon us here on the West Coast, and signs of it are starting to creep up in other parts of the country. Spring flowers are my absolute favourite delight because they are the first pop of colour since Autumn leaves, and the light pink, yellow, purple and white complement the bright glow of fresh greenery oh so well – Mother Nature certainly has her colour coordinating on point!
Growing up with a Presbyterian background, hot cross buns also go hand in hand for me with the snow melting and the first rays of sun warming the earth. My grandfather would make the buns every year on Good Friday, and though I never fully shared his religious sentiment, I certainly appreciated his ritual and joy in the simple task. Hot cross buns certainly signal Easter to me more than chocolate bunnies ever have, so I wanted to recreate an AIP Hot Cross Bun version I could indulge in once a year, or adapt throughout other seasons as a decent tea bun.
Fruit buns such as these are a very British take on the Christian holiday, but they come from a much longer and more varied lineage. Their warm spices and hint of citrus will help chase away the last of winter’s chill and damp. They are the perfect side to a cup of good tea, and making them is a lovely meditation on Spring, rebirth, and the coming of new adventures.
Happy Easter, and Happy Spring!
AIP Hot Cross Buns (makes 12-16 buns)
1/4 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. maple syrup or honey
1 medium orange, zested and juiced
1/2 c. coconut milk
1/2 c. Earl Grey or Rooibos tea (hot)
1 Tbsp gelatin powder
1 c. coconut flour
1 1/2 c. tapioca starch
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp AIP baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. raisins or currants
1 c. chopped dried apricots
The Cross (optional)*
1 Tbsp coconut flour
3 Tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 1/2 Tbsp coconut milk
1/2 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract (optional)
*Alternative Glaze – Instead of adding dough crosses before baking, apply this glaze after baking/cooling:
1/4 c. coconut manna, melted
1/4 tsp vanilla (optional)
Cream coconut oil, sweetener, orange zest, juice and coconut milk in a large bowl. Whisk gelatin into hot tea until dissolved and frothy, then add to creamed mixture. Combine dry ingredients, including dried fruit, into wet ingredients and work into a slightly wet, soft dough. NB: If too wet, add up to 1/2 c. tapioca starch, if too dry, add up to 1/4 c. coconut milk. Roll into balls, flattening slightly on a lined baking tray. If crosses desired, in a separate bowl, mix ingredients indicated and fashion the dough into x’s on top of buns. Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, or until slightly golden. After cooling, glaze if desired.
Best served warm with a side of tea!