Hot Cross Buns

Happy Easter everyone!

I’ve been seeing hot cross buns for sale in grocery stores for weeks now. So tempting! I finally broke down and made a batch. I couldn’t resist! Traditionally, hot cross buns are made and eaten on Good Friday or Easter Sunday but I say they’re good for whenever you feel like eating them. I think this would be a great recipe to serve for a brunch. Who doesn’t like fresh bread?

And if you don’t feel like waking up hours ahead of time, you can do the final proof in the refrigerator overnight. Just let the baking tray and buns come to room temperature before putting them into the oven. These buns turned out great! They were soft and doughy with just the right amount of sweetness. They’re even great the next day – just pop them into your toaster oven and spread with butter before eating. Yummy!

Don’t forget to share your hot cross buns with friends and family. How does the saying go? “Half for you and half for me, between us two shall goodwill be” Supposedly repeating that rhyme while sharing a hot cross bun is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year.

Enjoy!

Hot Cross Buns
(Yield: 12-14 buns)

Ingredients:

  • 625g bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 45g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 85g granulated sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1½ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 275ml tepid milk
  • 125g mixed dried fruit

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cold water

Glaze:

  • 1 tbsp golden syrup, gently heated

Directions:

  • Sift together the flour, spice mix and salt into a large bowl.
  • Rub the cubed butter into the flour using your fingertips or a pastry blender.
  • Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the sugar, lemon zest and yeast.
  • Lightly beat the egg and add it to the flour mixture with the milk. Mix ingredients together until a soft dough forms.
  • On a lightly floured surface or pastry mat, work the mixed dried fruit into the dough until well combined. Continue lightly kneading the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a round ball and place it into the bowl that’s been greased with butter or lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to allow dough to prove for an hour.
  • Turn out the proved dough onto a lightly floured work surface and punch down the dough. Shape it into a ball again and return it to the bowl for another 30 minutes and allow it rise.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten slightly into the shape of a bun using the palm of your hands.
  • Grease a baking tray with cooking spray or butter and transfer the buns to the tray. Wrap the tray tightly so that no air can get inside and set aside in a warm place and allow dough to rise for another 40 minutes.
  • Toward the end of the 40 minutes, pre-heat the oven to 375F
  • Prepare the topping by mixing 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of cold water and place mixture into a piping bag. Once the buns have risen, remove the plastic wrap and pipe a cross onto each bun.
  • Bake the buns for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Brush the buns with the heated golden syrup as soon as they are removed from the oven. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.

Recipe notes: The original recipe called for an oven temperature of 475F. The first time I attempted this recipe, my buns burned. The second time, I set my oven for 375F and it worked much better. For the spice blend, I used a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves. If you don’t like using dried fruit, try using a mix of cranberries, currants and diced apricots.

(Adapted from: BBC Food)

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