After the extreme local popularity of the Rye & Spelt Naan, I thought about other things I could do with naan. With Easter coming up, how about Hot Cross Naan? EVEN MORE DELICIOUS. Seriously. Of course these do have some sugar in the form of the dried fruits and peel mixed into them, which always makes things a treat. They are a bit more solid and chewy, but it’s quite amazing just how much like hot cross buns these actually taste. I won’t say they are easier, really, but they take much less time to make. (And if you want a more traditional hot cross bun experience, that recipe is here.)
24 to 32 pieces (6 to 8 naans)3 hours – 1 hour prep time
Make the Starter:1 cup lukewarm water1/2 teaspoon fast acting yeast1 1/4 cups whole spelt flour
Measure the water into a mixing bowl, and add the yeast. Let work for 10 minutes until foamy, then mix in the flour thoroughly. Cover the batter and leave in a warm (room temperature) spot for 1 hour.
Finish the Dough & Cook: 1/4 cup lukewarm water1/4 teaspoon fast acting yeast2 1/2 cups whole spelt flour1 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon green cardamom pods, ground1 teaspoon dried ground orange peel (optional)1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg1/8 teaspoon ground cloves1/2 cup total raisins, mixed candied peel and/or other dried fruit2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk OR thin kefirabout 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil to cook a little more butter if desired
Measure the water into a small bowl and add the yeast; set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
Meanwhile, mix the remaining spelt flour, salt, and spices. (First crush the cardamom, remove the green papery husks, and grind the remaining seed.) Mix in the raisins, peel, etc. (I used raisins, mixed peel and candied ginger, but you could replace the mixed peel and ginger with other dried fruits, chopped to the size of the raisins.)
Add the butter and buttermilk to the starter, then stir in the new bowl of yeast and water. Then mix in the flour with a wooden spoon, beating it thoroughly for a few minutes; as long as you can stand. It should become a bit stretchy and bouncy (the gluten has developed). Cover the dough and let it rise for another hour.
When you are ready to cook the naans, heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat. Brush the surface with a little oil. Using a wet spoon, scoop out 1/8th or 1/6th of the batter and plop it on the griddle. The spoon being wet will help keep the batter from sticking to it. Using a wet hand, immediately pat it out into a flat circle, about 1/2″ thick or a little thinner. Immediately slice it into quarters with a pizza cutter, but do not separate the pieces – allow them to cook back together.
Cook for about 3 minutes (maybe less if you get them thinner), until the top looks mostly dry. Turn the naan over – the bottom (now top) should look lightly browned and flecked with darker spots. Cook for another 2 minutes, then transfer the finished naan to a plate. Brush the tops with a little butter, if you like.
While the naan cooks, wash the spoon and ready it to repeat the process. Brush the pan with a little oil, and cook another naan, as above. Continue until all of them are finished.
These can readily be reheated by popping them back into the skillet and covering them for a few minutes; turn and move them around to heat them evenly. Serve warm. (Although they are not half bad cool, either.)
Last year at this time I made Beet, Prune, & Walnut Salad.