Good Friday Hot Cross Buns

Good Friday marks the second day of the Triduum (from the Latin for ‘three days’), the day on which we commemorate the Lord’s crucifixion and death. The Good Friday liturgies at our monastery (and many others around the world) mark our observance of Christ’s final hours, picking up from Maundy Thursday Eucharist, and continuing through the Holy Saturday Vigil, the Great Vigil of Easter, and carrying us all the way to Easter morning.

In keeping with the solemnity of the day, we remember Christ’s death by bringing to the liturgy of the hours the full range of spiritual depth and beauty found in the ancient texts; we participate in the veneration of the cross, and chant Gospel Passion Narrative. It is a special and holy time, filled with moments of silence, listening, reflection and conviction, as well as a time of joy-filled anticipation.

This day of the Cross marks us with God’s presence, and He marks us for his own.

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Good Friday Hot Cross Buns
SERVINGS
1dozen buns
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
dozen buns
COOK TIME
25mins
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN
3hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the yeast by sprinkling it over the very warm water and add a pinch of sugar to activate.
  2. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until about 100 degrees F. (but no more than 110 degrees)
  3. In a mixer, fitted with a dough hook, add the warmed milk to the yeast mixture.
  4. Plump the raisins (or currants) and citron in the microwave with a little orange juice; cool and set aside
  5. To the yeast & milk mixture add the remaining sugar, melted butter, egg yolk and extract.
  6. Add the salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger to the mixture and continue kneading.
  7. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
  8. Remove the orange juice from the raisins and citron and discard.
  9. Add the raisins and citron to the dough and mix well. The dough should be slightly sticky and not dry.
  10. Knead until soft and elastic, about 8 min. Shape into a ball.
  11. Brush the inside of a large bowl with butter. Put dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hr. 30 min. **
  12. To form the rolls: Pam a 9x13” pyrex pan. Turn the dought out of the bowl and roll into a log. With a dough cutter or sharp knife, divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each of these pieces into a round bun shape, tucking the edges under.
  13. Place them seam side down in the prepared pan, leaving a little space between each roll. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the rolls are doubled in size, about 45 min. or longer.
  14. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare your egg wash.
  15. Prepare glaze: In a mixer, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla or almond extract and oil until smooth (the oil will give it a high gloss). The icing should be quite thick. If too runny, add more powdered sugar. Transfer icing to a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with a corner snipped off.
  16. Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the rolls and brush the buns with egg wash. Bake rolls until golden brown and puffy, about 25 min. (an instant read thermometer inserted into the roll should read 190 degrees F.)
  17. Ice buns with a thick cross shape on the top of the warm buns and serve.

** Please note:  This dough might take a long time to rise, but be patient...it is worth the wait because they will come out nice and light!

Ginger Pumpkin Custard

Tis the season of the Great Pumpkin! Beginning with Halloween when he takes center stage and captures everyone’s attention right on through to Thanksgiving when he’s sure to appear in and around the traditional holiday dinner and anytime in between. This “jolly good fellow” can make an unexpected appearance in any number of interesting and enticing ways, not the least of which is in this  luscious ginger pumpkin custard.
When this happens he will once again have succeeded in stealing the show, by enhancing a dinner or lovely dessert buffet.
Milder in flavor and less dense than the traditional pumpkin pie this dessert will surprise and please the eater with its unexpected addition of candied ginger – lifting it out of the ordinary into the extraordinary!

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Ginger Pumpkin Custard
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
35minutes
PREP TIME
15minutes
READY IN
50minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and fresh ginger until blended. Whisk in sweetened condensed milk, milk, vanilla and salt until blended.
  2. Pour into 6 (6-ounce) custard cups. Place custard cups in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Place dish on oven rack in center of oven. Pour boiling water into pan around custard cups to a depth of 1 1/4 inches.
  3. Bake 35 minutes or until centers are almost set. Remove custard cups from baking dish and cool on wire rack. Serve warm or cold. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon and candied ginger just before serving.

Apple Brown Betty

“No matter what their age from the youngest to the oldest” everyone
in the Community of Jesus gathers together for Saturday morning beehive,
a time to busily work on everything that needs doing in the community that week.
Each is assigned a job he or she is capable of doing.

Last Saturday  while I was in the convent yard I heard excited shouts and
squeals of fun and laughter coming from the apple orchard.  Although we
still have not reached peak apple season we have an abundance of
drops each day and we never waste any of them. That day the nursery school
kids were having a contest to see who could gather the most.
The two sisters responsible for child care had cleverly come up with a way
for them to be useful while at the same time learn a lesson in good stewardship
of God’s gifts to us.

Their mission accomplished, the little wagon full of drops were drawn to
the convent kitchen where they were magically transformed into a
favorite old fashioned  dessert that everyone without exception enjoyed
at the coffee hour break…..that is EVERYONE  no matter what their age
from the youngest to the oldest!

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Apple Brown Betty
SERVINGS
4-6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
45minutes
PREP TIME
20minutes
READY IN
65minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a shallow 8” x 8” baking dish.
  2. Place half the bread cubes in the prepared baking dish. Mix the remaining cubes with 2 tablespoons of melted butter and set aside.
  3. Stir together the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, water, orange juice, orange rind and the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Pour over the bread cubes in the dish and then top with the reserved bread cubes.
  4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes covered with foil at 400 degrees Fahrenheit then uncovered 10 minutes or so until golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Fabulous Roasted Fruit Platter

This Sunday after church the sisters, along with some invited guests, enjoyed a sumptuous southern breakfast, the perfect holiday treat especially for those who have southern roots.

The menu was extensive……..baked ham, grits, sausage, bacon, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, sticky buns and more than anyone could sample at one sitting. My favorite of all the dishes was a fabulous fruit platter consisting of a combination of roasted fresh and dried fruits and nuts that had been coated with a rich glaze of brown sugar, butter and Calvados.

This winter fruit and nut combination was “Out of this world”…and not only for a southern breakfast, but as a wonderful accompaniment to any number of other meals, especially at this time of year.

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Fabulous Roasted Fruit Platter
SERVINGS
6-8people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
30-40mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
50-60mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut fruit to desired size and shape. Spread out on sheet pan and brush with a little oil and cover with foil and roast about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until softened.
  2. Uncover and sprinkle with nuts and generously brush with glaze. Return to oven uncovered at 50 degrees higher and cook until nice and golden.
  3. Sprinkle with pecan and walnut halves and serve.
Glaze
  1. To make glaze melt butter and brown sugar together until sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Add cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, and Calvados and simmer till thick enough to spread.

Notes

If dried fruit needs softening soak in warm cider to reconstitute before roasting.
We used firm pears and apples, and pineapple for fresh fruit, along
with dried figs and apricots. Craisins could also be an interesting addition.

Individual Apple Crisps

As I write this, it is snowing again. Wow,what a winter it has been, and continues to be. I begin to wonder if spring is truly going to come. But like any issue of faith, one just has to believe. Spring has always come, with its promise of new beginnings and life, and  it will be all the more special this year when it does.

Usually I would be starting to think of things like asparagus and lemon, lamb and baby beets–but it’s just a little too chilly still for the spring forerunners. I’m still thinking about hot stews and soups, lovely warm desserts like apple crisp in little ramekins with ice cream melting on it. So, to keep us warm through these last chilly days of winter, here is a recipe for orange-tinged mini apple crisps.

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Individual Apple Crisps
SERVINGS
6ramekins
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
ramekins
COOK TIME
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Butter 6 ramekins.
  3. In a medium bowl mix together flour, walnuts, 2 Tablespoons sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt.
  4. Pour butter over and mix together with a fork. Set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl combine apples, remaining 2 Tablespoons sugar and orange juice, tossing to coat.
  6. Divide among ramekins, top with flour mixture.
  7. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until fruit is tender and topping is golden. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Apple Bundles

What says Autumn more than apples?  I still remember apple picking as a child — and all of the smells, tastes and visual stimuli that went with it… the drive to Hadley through the Notch, the trees a riot of color, the smell of leaves crunching underfoot and of ripening apples. The first bite sitting at the top of a tree, tart, juicy sweetness. We are harvesting our apple trees, a few at a time. The early apples are sweet, tart, and super crunchy, perfect for any baking one would want to do. I love apple pie. Also like apple dumplings, but I don’t fancy the whole apple wrapped in crust. So I thought of a marriage of the two — cinnamon sweet apple chunks bundled in pie crust! Little individual dumplings that anyone could eat warm from the oven. So here is what I came up with.

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Apple Bundles
SERVINGS
5bundles
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
bundles
COOK TIME
14-16minutes
PREP TIME
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix together flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles course meal and the pieces of butter are pea-sized.
  3. Add water as needed and mix with a fork until dough holds together and you can form into a ball.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
For the filling
  1. Peel and cut apples into 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. In a large pan, over medium heat, melt butter and add apples. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring.
  3. Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook a few more minutes. Set aside.
To make bundles
  1. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness in a rough rectangular shape. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 4 inch squares.
  4. Place dough squares on prepared pans. Spoon 1 Tablespoon to 1 1/2 Tablespoons in center of dough square.
  5. Bring corners to center, pinching along seams. Brush top of each bundle, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (last 2 ingredients combined).
  6. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until crust is golden. Can be served with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.