A true Easter tradition, hot cross buns are made using a mouth-watering combination of spice, sweet and fruit flavours to create a beloved Easter treat. With Easter fast approaching, you are sure to be looking forward to tucking into a few of these delicious treats over the weekend.
This Easter, how about making your own hot cross buns? Forget the ready-made shop bought version, nothing will beat a homemade batch that are fresh out of the oven on Easter morning. Using staple cupboard ingredients, homemade hot cross buns are easier than you think with our easy to follow recipe.
-500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
-75g caster sugar
-50g finely chopped mixed peel
-1 free-range egg, beaten
-10g fast-action dried yeast
-1 lemon, finely grated zest only
-2 tsp mixed spice powder
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-oil, for greasing
*this recipe will make 12 buns
1.Place the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix together. Add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl.
2.Begin to melt the butter in a pan and in a separate pan warm the milk. Add the butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go. Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough.
3.Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand incorporating the sultanas and mixed peel into the dough. Lightly knead for 10 minutes until silky and elastic and forming a smooth ball. The kneading can also be done in a food mixer with a dough hook.
4.Oil a bowl and place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
5.Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and divide into 12 balls. Line 1-2 baking trays with paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.
6.Slip each baking tray into a large clean polythene bag, making sure the bag doesn’t touch the buns. Leave for 40-60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size.
7.Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
8.For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with 100ml water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into the icing bag.
9.When the buns have risen remove the polythene bags and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays round halfway through if necessary.
10.Melt the golden syrup in a pan and while the buns are still warm, brush the buns with a little syrup to give a nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack.
Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, why not try being a bit more experimental and adventurous by adding some unexpected additions. By simply exchanging a few ingredients into the dough when making the buns it will create flavoursome and tasty hot cross buns with a twist.
For a savoury twist, try replacing the fruit in the buns with cheddar cheese and top with grated parmesan and finish with a couple of slices of bacon for the cross. A few delicious combinations we recommended include carrot and ginger or lemon and marzipan for a zesty twist; apple, date and walnut or cranberry and orange for a fruity addition. For a sweeter tooth, perhaps add a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the dough and sprinkle in a few chocolate chips in place of fruit and top with melted white chocolate for the cross.