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Traditional South African hot cross buns get a twist with Mosbolletjies!

By March 28, 2024May 27th, 2024FinGlobal

Traditional South African hot cross buns get a twist with Mosbolletjies!

March 28, 2024

South African hot cross bun recipe

If one encapsulates the essence of South African baking, it would be an aromatic fusion of cultural heritage, love for sweet comforts, and the warmth that comes with sharing a meal. The Mosbolletjie recipe- a sweet, aromatic textured bread that dates back to the Afrikaans cultural landscape – is a culinary treasure that represents this blend perfectly. And when the revered Mosbolletjie meets a globally cherished Easter delight, the hot cross bun, there’s magic in the making.

Mosbolletjies: A cultural blend in your oven

The Mosbolletjie is deeply rooted in the South African tradition of fermenting grape juice, giving it a distinctive texture and flavor. This beloved treat has a rich history dating back to 1688 when the French Huguenots first arrived in South Africa. Originally crafted during the wine harvest using leftover ‘grape must,’ Mosbolletjies have been a treasured recipe for generations.

‘Grape must’ is the leftover juice from winemaking, including grape stems, skin, and seeds. This juice acts as the natural ‘yeast’ in making Mosbolletjies. Traditional versions used fermented grapes or raisins, but modern recipes opt for yeast for simplicity.

By blending the symbol-laden hot cross bun with this culinary tradition, you merge Christian symbolism with festive cheer, creating a dish perfect for family gatherings and community festivities. The spiced and fruity hot cross bun symbolizes the Easter spirit, and when paired with the Mosbolletjie, it brings a fusion of flavors to your table.

The ingredients to recreate South African magic

Ingredients for Mosbolletjies dough:

  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (52.5 ml) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) Appletiser (apple-flavored soda)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) superfine sugar
  • 5 cups (640 g) bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) finely grated orange peel
  • 1 1/2 cups (210 g) sultanas
  • Flour for dusting

For the Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) smooth apricot jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) vanilla paste

For the Crosses:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 ml) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) cake flour

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. Preparing Mosbolletjies dough:

  • In a medium saucepan, gently simmer the milk and butter over low heat until the butter melts. Remove from heat and stir in the Appletiser. Let it cool for 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in the yeast and superfine sugar. In a stand mixer bowl with the dough hook, combine the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed for 10 seconds, then add the milk mixture, egg, and orange zest. Mix at medium speed for 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Incorporate the sultanas into the mixture and knead for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.

2. Preparing the crosses:

  • Whisk water and vanilla extract in a bowl. Sieve in the cake flour and whisk until a thick paste forms. Transfer the paste to a piping bag with a small round nozzle and refrigerate until needed.

3. Making the Mosbolletjies Hot Cross Buns:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line two bread tins with baking paper.
  • Divide the dough into 8-10 equal balls and place them in the prepared tins. Cover with a damp towel and let them rise for another 35-40 minutes.
  • Pipe crosses onto the risen dough using the prepared paste.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

4. For the glaze:

  • Mix apricot jam and vanilla paste. Brush the glaze over the hot Mosbolletjies just before serving.

An all year treat

Traditionally an Easter delight, Mosbolletjie South African hot cross buns bring joy year-round by blending cultural traditions and flavors, perfect for any gathering. With a rich history, unique ingredients, and delicious taste, they represent a fusion of cultures and flavors. This recipe is more than just baking; it’s about connecting through taste, tradition, and time. Share the experience with loved ones, savoring stories in every bite. As aromas fill your home, baking becomes a tribute to the past, a celebration of the present, and a legacy for the future.

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