Do you have a favourite memory of Easter? Is there something that comes to mind when this part of the year rolls around again? Maybe you attended Easter Camp as a kid and you have fond memories of games and camp food and good friends. Maybe you used to have egg hunts at your Grandmother’s place and you smile when you recall hunting for hours for that sweet treasure. Maybe you used to make hot cross buns with your Mum and the very smell of these delicious treats makes your mouth water. Whatever your memory of Easter might be, and hopefully it’s a good one, there’s no denying that there are mixed messages floating around the meaning behind the holiday weekend.
Here at Junktion, we aren’t shy to share with you why Easter is important to us – it’s the time of year that we pause and take stock of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, a sacrifice unmatched and completely rooted in love. But we are also about the chocolate eggs and the baby chicks and the ‘new life’ that Easter represents. Even if this long-weekend coming up at the beginning of April isn’t religious for you, there’s no denying that having a little hope for ‘new beginnings’ isn’t something we all long for at some stage in our lives.
With 2020 firmly in the rear-view mirror now, and 2021 continuing to offer tentative new opportunities, this idea of fresh starts, new life and the new beginnings is a welcome moment to think bigger. Think bigger than perhaps what this year started out like. Think bigger than perhaps where you find yourself now. Think bigger than the small plans you originally made. The idea with Easter is that Jesus offers new life – and new life means a second chance. We could all use a second chance sometimes, huh?
Second chances don’t just extend to us as people either, they extend to the things that we use too. An ‘egg-cellent’ way of leaning in to the idea of fresh beginnings and new life is to op-shop. Get your thrift on. This Easter, pop in to your local op-shop (or better yet, come see us!) and give something a second chance. Maybe it’s a preloved wicker basket that you can give to your child to use for an Easter egg hunt. Maybe it’s a tea towel with little baby chicks on it that you can use to serve Easter morning tea to your Grandmother. Maybe it’s the little hand-knitted cosies in the picture above that you can drop to the neighbours who have been having a hard time and are in need of new beginnings themselves. Maybe it’s a tie from our tie rack that you’ll wear proudly to Easter services or a couple of old t-shirts that you’ll wreck while having a blast at Easter Camp.
New beginnings don’t have to be flashy. They can be as simple as that, but what’s important is YOU. You make it important, and to help you know this, keep an eye out for information around our MINI JUNKTION EASTER FAIR where we’ll be able to celebrate and bless you.
To help you prepare and get in to the spirit of Easter, here’s a recipe to try. Maybe with your kids or a loved one, but as you bake these delicious hot cross buns, think about new beginnings and fresh starts and new life and what Easter might mean for you this year.
“Nadiya’s fruity hot cross buns have a surprise jam filling, a bit like a doughnut, complete with bright pink crosses!”
For the dough
- 300ml/10fl oz full-fat milk
- 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter
- 500g/1lb 2oz strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 75g/2¾oz caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 7g fast-action dried yeast
- 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
- oil, for greasing
- 75g/2¾oz dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- 50g/1¾oz dried blueberries, roughly chopped
- 1 orange, zest only
For the berry crosses
For the filling and glaze
- To make the dough, heat the milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted. Take off the heat.
- Add the flour to a large bowl and mix in the sugar. Add the salt on one side of the flour and the yeast on the other side. Make a well in the centre, pour in the egg and then add the milk mixture. Roughly mix using the back of a spoon or a palette knife, then get your hands in and bring the dough together.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth and stretchy. This will take about 10 minutes or it can be done in a mixer with a dough hook attached, which should take about 6 minutes on a medium speed. Pop the dough into a greased bowl and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
- Line a large baking tray or 2 smaller trays with some baking paper. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back the dough. Spread the dough out into a circle and sprinkle on the cranberries, blueberries and orange zest, then knead until the fruit is evenly distributed.
- Take the dough and divide into 15 portions. Shape each piece into a ball and roll until it has a smooth surface. Place on the tray or trays with about a 3cm/1¼in gap between each one to give them space to prove and grow. Leave in a warm place, covered in some greased cling film, for about 40–60 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. To make the flour paste for the crosses, pound the strawberries in a pestle and mortar or blitz in a food processor until you have a fine pink dust. Add this to a bowl with the flour and 6 tablespoons of water and mix to a smooth, pipeable paste. Spoon into a piping bag. Uncover the proven buns and pipe a thin cross on each bun.
- Bake the buns for 18–20 minutes. As soon as they are golden brown and bounce back when touched, take them out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Use the handle of a teaspoon or the end of a cutlery knife to make a hole in the side of each bun without going all the way through. Pop the jam into a piping bag and pipe into the hole of each hot cross bun until full. You will know when it is full as the piping bag will naturally force itself out. Put the buns back onto the tray. Brush the warmed syrup all over the buns to give a sweet, sticky glaze. Filled, fruity and ready to eat!
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