At this time of year it’s easy to pop into a supermarket to buy Hot Cross Buns - in fact most major supermarkets start stocking them from February. However, this year, why not try making your own Hot Cross Buns? Rachel shares a delicious recipe to put your bread and bun making skills into practice.
Whilst hot cross buns are typically made for Easter, they actually pre-date the Christian celebration - the Saxons ate something similar to celebrate the goddess Eostre, the origin of the word Easter.
Get into the mood for Easter by baking up a batch of hot, spiced buns, and enjoy then with butter and jam at tea time!
P.S. I have a confession to make. I was cooking up some lovely Spiced Plum Compote while the buns were baking. And rather than boil up some apricot jam, it was just too easy to glaze the buns with… Well, I should have thought about the photos. I hope you’ll forgive the pink buns…
Hot Cross Buns
50g butter, cubed
500g strong bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
75g caster sugar
7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 egg, beaten
50g mixed peel
75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
3 tablespoons ‘no bits’ apricot jam
Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches blood temperature, and a finger dipped in feels the same temperature as the liquid.
Put the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, zest and spices into a bowl and mix together. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the beaten egg. Using a wooden spoon or dough scraper, mix well and bring the mixture together until you have a sticky dough.
Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas and mixed peel. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed.
Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover lightly with more oiled cling film or a clean tea towel, and prove for 1 hour more.
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tablespoons of water to make the paste for the cross, just adding enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag and cut a small hole. Pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 13-17 minutes until golden brown.
Over a low heat, dissolve the apricot jam with a splash of water in a small pan. Brush the jam over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.
Are you inspired to try making your own Hot Cross Buns? If you’re looking ideas for leftover or stale Hot Cross Buns, try this Hot Cross Bun Bread & Butter Pudding. Otherwise there’s plenty more Easter ideas in our Easter Recipe Collection at Great British Chefs