Ria's Collection: HOT CROSS BUNS & I.N.R.I. Appam

Friday, April 6, 2012


Hot Cross Buns & Indri Appam

It's only a few months ago did I realise that people ate Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday. I thought it was for Maundy Thursday as we break bread at church and at home. I am not a big fan of the traditional unleavened passover bread I.N.R.I. appam/ Indriappam, we Catholics make in our homes (in Kerala) on Maundy Thursday. I was proved wrong when I tasted the Indriappams they served in our Cathedral in Kannur.

Hot Cross Buns

It was really good, filled with grated coconut.Till that year, Amma used to buy hot cross buns from the local bakery and serve it with Pesaha Paal. She didn't want Indriappam to be wasted as no one would like to eat it the next day even though we drink Pesaha Paal like Payasam till it's over. But this year, Jobin asked me if I could make a small Indriappam just for the two of us.


Of course, I obliged but the thought of not having buns with the Pesaha Paal haunted me. Big deal! I'll make both! I remember seeing a recipe on Pioneer Woman's website a few years ago and thought of making that one because whatever I've tried so far from her blog never failed me. I'm not the one who fears yeast because I was never made to fear one! Amma bakes with yeast like there's no tomorrow and everytime I was there next to her she used to chant the mantra,'Make sure you use yeast which is still fresh. Always check for the expiration date'.

Hot Cross Buns

Those little mantras made me venture into baking with yeast without even me realising it. It was only after I started food blogging did I realise that many fear or feared yeast at one point in their lives. When people write to me about how I go ahead with recipes and come out with success, I tell them my mantra,'Do not fear the ingredients, they can sense it!' Atleast that's what I have been doing. If I see a recipe I want to try, I just try it. I never think about the what if's, but how's etc. Why waste your precious time pondering over such petty issues? ;-)

Hot Cross Buns

So the silky soft  dough was made and then sprinkled with spiced sugar, raisins and rolled into small buns. They were left to rise and that's exactly when he called and told me he's on his way home. He reached home while the buns were baking and when I was in the Cinnamon haven! I was never a fan of Cinnamon and it worsened after moving to the United States. Now, after living here for sometime and eating the best possible Cinnamon Rolls from Tobies, I'm in love with Cinnamon.

Makes 20 buns

For the buns
2 c milk
1/2 c oil
1/2 c sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
4 c + 1/2 c flour/ maida
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1/2 c raisins
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 egg white
Splash of milk

1/2 egg white
5-6 tbsp powdered sugar
Splash of milk

Method: In a big pot, scald the milk along with oil and sugar. Leave it aside for 30 mins. Add yeast, 4 cups of flour and mix well. Cover it with a tea towel and let it rise for 30 mins. Add the remaining 1/2 c flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt. Mix well and dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat it out lightly with your finger.Mix the sugar with the ground spices and sprinkle 1/3rd of it over the dough.Sprinkle some raisins over it. Fold the dough from 4 sides so that the raisins and sugar is inside the fold. Repeat the process twice more till the raisins are over. You may not use all of the spiced sugar. Pull out small balls of dough and roll them into small buns. Place them on a lightly greased baking/cookie sheet and let rise, covered with a tea towel for 1 hour. Brush them with a glaze made using egg white beaten with milk.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F and bake the buns for 18-20 mins or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Once cooled, frost them with egg white beaten with powdered sugar & thinned with milk if needed. It should be a thick frosting so that it doesn't drip away from the buns.

Indriappam & Pesaha PaalI.N.R.I / INDRI APPAM
My own recipe
Makes a 6 inch round appam

2 tbsp urad dal
3/4 c grated coconut
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 large pearl onion/chummanulli
1/2 a clove of garlic (if big), 1 clove (if small)
1 c fine rice flour ( Idiyappam/Pathiri/Appam flour)
1 1/4 c water

Method: Soak urad dal in 1/2 c water for an hour. Grind it to a smooth paste with a teaspoon or two of water. Grind the coconut, cumin, pearl onion and garlic to a smooth paste using very little water.Bring 1 1/4 c water to a rolling boil and add the rice flour to it. Switch off the heat & stir well to mix. Add the ground coconut & urad dal to it and mix well. The batter should be of an Idli batter consistency. Pour into a greased tin, place a cross with the palm,cover with foil and steam for 25-30 mins on medium high heat.

Hot Cross Buns

There's something so therapeutic about baking breads at home. I think it's the pleasure of seeing the dough rise in bulk while proving and rising again while baking. What do you think? On the contrary, the Indriappam doesn't even rise an inch higher from the batter level :-) Jobin loved the Pesaha paal and Indriappam so did I. How can you not enjoy it when the other person dips the appam into the paal and takes every bite saying 'The paal and appam is delicious!? :-)

We will be celebrating Easter in Chicago this year, with family. I am super excited about the trip and meeting all of them. My oven has been busy baking a lot this week, most of which is for the family in Chicago and some for the road as we are driving down. It's been a while since we did a road trip and I'm always hungry once the tires start to roll :-)
Tell me, how are you all celebrating this weekend? Any plans?

These Hot Cross Buns are Yeastspotted!


Kavi said...

classic recipe!!!! :) Love the pictures! They make me hum the Hot Cross Buns rhyme. :)

Unknown said...

In each home appam recipe is different .......in my home we don't mix Rice flour in hot water .........also we used to grind Coconut to a course paste .............. also allow the batter to rise a little , for atleast 3hrs .........this will make the appam very soft ............usally people feels its a very hard bread , but with small tricks we can make it good ............

Ria Mathew said...

Suby,This is the first time I'm hearing about letting thebatter for Indriappam to ferment :-)

We call it 'pulikkatha appam' which means, we don't let it ferment even for a few mins. It is not hard if made correctly yet not soft like vattayappam. This is the way it's meant to be (for us),infact the directions are 'steam the batter as soon as it is made'.

Rahin said...

This looks perfect Ria, must taste fab

Rahin said...

This looks perfect Ria, must taste fab

Annie Theogaraj said...

Hi Ria,

I did a trial run of the Hot cross buns today for the first time in my life. WOW. It was so yum!!! Thanks for the recipe

Happy Easter!!!


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