Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns, Makes 8

These are a lovely traditional treat on Good Friday. If you prefer to make them without the mixed spice feel free to leave it out. You can also replace the dried fruit with chocolate chips or chopped up Easter chocolate or small cubes of fudge. Once you taste a home made hot cross bun you will never want to buy one ever again.

Ingredients

300g strong white flour
250g plain white flour
50g caster sugar
5g easy bake yeast or 10g fresh yeast mixed with a little of the water
10g fine sea salt
150ml warm milk
150ml warm water
50g softened butter
1 egg
100g dried fruit, your choice here, you could use the standard mixed dried fruit of currants, raisins and sultanas or add in candied peel, glace cherries or dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries.
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tsp mixed spice

For the cross
100g plain flour
Approx. 100g water

For the glaze
25g sugar
25g water

Method

At least 30 minutes before making the dough mix the dried fruit with the orange zest and juice. If you are short of time you can warm the juice and zest in a small pan and add the fruit to the warm juice to help plump up the fruit.

Place the flours, sugar, yeast, salt  (keep the yeast and salt separate) and mixed spice in a large bowl. Add the dried fruit and any orange juice and zest left in the bowl, the milk, water, butter and egg and mix with your hands or with an electric dough hook until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Leave the dough to rest for at least ten minutes. You can then knead the dough in the stand mixer. Knead by hand for about ten minutes until smooth and elastic, or you can use the stretch and fold method.

Shape the dough into a ball and place back in the bowl and cover. Leave to rise for about two hours, or until doubled in size. The time needed will depend on the warmth of your kitchen. You could leave it to rise in the fridge overnight.

When the dough has doubled in size, divide it into 8 pieces and shape into buns. Place onto a lightly greased or floured tray or on baking parchment on a tray in rows if you can to make the piping of the cross easier later and cover with a proving cloth or oiled cling film. Allow to rise again. This might take 30 minutes in a warm room or longer in a cool kitchen. You could place them in the fridge to rise over several hours or overnight. 

Mix together the plain flour with the water, you may not need it all, but you want a thick batter texture so that it will pipe or run off a spoon easily. Pipe or spoon onto each bun in a cross shape. Bake in a preheated oven at 200℃, gas mark 6 for 15-20 minutes. Make a glaze by dissolving the caster sugar with the water in a pan over a gentle heat and then simmer for 2 minutes. Brush the glaze over the buns as soon as they come out the oven. Leave the buns to cool on a wire rack.

Split open and spread with butter. These are wonderful toasted too the next day (it’s my favourite way to eat them. I like them with a wedge of mature cheddar.

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