Most people don’t really think about baking the nation’s much loved time-honoured hot cross bun. Just like mince pies at Christmas, the supermarket shelves are groaning with them come Easter and to the rush-buyers stocking up for friends and family, it may not even occur to give homemade hot cross buns a go. If you’re one of those, you’re missing a treat so worth the extra effort – homemade done well will always always win hands down over store-bought.
Whether you’re a raisin enthusiast or not, few can deny the smell and sight of toasted Hot Cross Buns stuffed full of fruit and spices and spread with generous lashings of butter isn’t all but essential in the house come Easter.
what you’ll need
Equipment: small saucepan, mixing bowls, baking tray, piping bag, basting brush.
classic hot cross buns:
for the buns:
- 300ml whole milk
- zest of 2 oranges
- 50g lightly salted butter
- 500g strong white flour
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 7g fast action yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 25g raisins
- 75g sultanas
for the cross:
- 5 tbsp water
- 75g flour
for the glaze:
- 3 tsp apricot jam
Warm the milk and the zest of one orange in a small saucepan until it begins to steam. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool slightly – your hand should be able to comfortably touch the pan.
Mix the flour, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, salt and yeast together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk mixture and the beaten egg. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together then tip onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes or so, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic – it should bounce back when pressed with your thumb.
Transfer to a clean oiled bowl. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in size – a pressed thumb should leave a dent.
Tip your dough back onto a surface and add your sultanas, raisins and the rest of the orange zest. Knead the fruit into the dough making sure it’s well distributed. Throw the dough back into your oiled bowl and cover again with oiled clingfilm.
After an hour divide into 75g buns and roll till round. Line trays with baking paper and lay out the buns with small gaps between them. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave for a further hour.
Mix flour and water, tbsp at a time until you have a paste for piping. Pipe the crosses slowly onto the buns.
Preheat oven to 200C.
Bake your buns for 15 – 20 minutes till tops are golden.
Meanwhile, heat 3 tsp of apricot jam to runny. Brush over the buns once out the oven and while still warm.