Easter is just around the corner which means it’s time for some hot cross buns! These are always so fun to make and they’re bound to lure your loved ones into the kitchen to nick one or two while they’re still hot. Check your cupboards for flour and yeast and let’s start baking. Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of the page for extra tips and tricks!
Hot Cross Buns are associated with Easter but they are nice to have all year around. Traditionally Hot Cross Buns are made with mixed peel and currants and possibly raisins and sultanas but you can make them with other fruits, for example dried apricots, apple, cranberries, mango, peach, pear etc. You can add some grated apple – 1 medium apple including the skin for this recipe. Or if you like chocolate a mix of white and dark chocolate is delicious or try freeze dried raspberries and dark chocolate! Because this is a sweet dough it takes longer to rise. Make sure when the buns are proving you give them long enough to prove – probably about 30 minutes depending on the heat in your kitchen. This recipe makes 12 large hot cross buns but if you prefer them smaller they will make 15 – 18. You will need to adjust the proving and baking time if they are smaller.
For the starter
1 large egg
For the dough
For the crosses
For the glaze
Yield – 12 large / 15-18 small buns
- For the starter, beat the egg in a bowl and mix with enough warm milk to make up approximately 270-300 ml of liquid.
- Whisk in the yeast, sugar and flour until the mixture is well combined and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes to sponge.
- Once this has happened make the dough. Sieve the flour, salt and ground mixed spice into a large mixing bowl, cut the butter into cubes and then rub in with your fingertips. Make a well in the centre and add the sugar, orange zest and the starter mixture.
- Using a knife mix the ingredients well and if necessary add a little water to make a soft, but not too sticky, dough. Dust a little flour on the work surface and start to knead the dough adding extra flour only if necessary. Knead until it is smooth and elastic – it will take about 10 minutes. Put the dough into a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover with a clean damp tea towel or cling film. Leave in a warm kitchen to rise. This will probably take about 1 hour.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the risen dough onto the lightly floured work surface and add the fruit. Carefully knock back the dough and work the dried fruit into the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball put on the baking sheet and flatten slightly.
- Cover the tray with a slightly damp tea towel or lightly greased cling film and put in a warm place to prove until they are nearly doubled in size. This may take about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6.
- Meanwhile, for the topping, mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with approximately 3 – 4 tablespoons cold water.
- When the buns have risen and if you lightly press them they leave a very light indent (if they spring back they are not ready yet), remove the cover. Spoon the flour mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross over each bun.
- Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until risen and pale golden-brown. Check them at this stage and turn them around in the oven. If they are getting too dark but are not cooked yet turn the oven down to fan oven 170°C.
- Meanwhile, gently heat the golden syrup and add a teaspoon of water. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the hot golden syrup, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.
If the buns are touching each other on the tray they may take a little longer to cook. They should sound hollow when tapped on the underside and the sides should feel firm and not at all soft when they come straight out of the oven.
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