Hot Cross Bun time is upon us. Delicious, sweet, aromatic Hot Cross Buns! There is nothing quite like a warm, fresh-out-the-oven Hot Cross Bun, served with a thick layer of butter.
What are Hot Cross Buns ?
Hot cross buns are a spiced sweet bread bun made with raisins or sultanas and mixed peel, recognisable by the cross on the top and shiny sticky exterior. Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent. In different parts of the world hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial. You may now be thinking, not so appetising after all!
Hot Cross Buns
The first time I made these, last year, I enjoyed them toasted for breakfast every morning, which sadly meant, there were none left by the time Good Friday came around!
I’m still a novice at baking Hot Cross Buns, this is only my second attempt. I think I’ve still a way to go on getting a nice rounded shape and aiming for a lighter more airy texture.
There are a couple of things I would make sure I do differently in my next bake to improve the texture. Firstly, it would be to soak the fruit prior to mixing, as the dried fruit takes in moisture from the dough. Secondly, I would add the spices in with the drained soaked fruit and add them to the dough later in the mixing, as spices can kill yeast. I have taken into account these alterations within my recipe below.
Whether perfect or not, of course, home baked, fresh-out-the-oven, Hot Cross Buns are still far more satisfying than any store bought so do give them a go. Just imagine the sweet aroma in your kitchen as these bake in the oven? You may be so overcome with joy that you may even burst into song…
One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns, give them to your daughters, give them to your sons…..
Hot Cross Buns
Have you tried baking Hot Cross Buns before? How did you get on?
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A sweet aromatic bun with a sticky exterior, traditional eaten on Good Friday breakfast, but delicious eaten all year round!
- 500 g strong white flour plus extra for dusting
- 75 g caster sugar
- 2 tsp mixed spice see note on making your own
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 lemon finely grated zest only
- 10 g salt
- 10 g fast-action dried yeast
- 40 g butter
- 300 ml milk
- 1 egg free-range, beaten
- 200 g sultanas or raisins
- 50 g finely chopped mixed peel I made without the mixed peel as I had none
- oil for greasing
- 75 g plain flour
- 5 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp Apricot Jam or Golden Syrup
Fit an electric mixer with a dough hook and add the flour and sugar into the mixer bowl and combine
Add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl
Melt the butter
Warm the milk to very warm but not hot
Add the butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl
Add the egg and knead with the dough hook until you have combined all the ingredients, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go
Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough (you may not need all of the milk, I didn't use all the milk)
Once you have a smooth dough turn out onto a lightly floured work-surface and lightly knead for a few minutes, until you have a silky and elastic dough and have formed a smooth ball
Place the ball of dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in size
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and add the soaked and drained sultanas, mixed peel and spice on top. Knead in until evenly incorporated. Cover and leave to rise for a further hour
Fold the dough inwards repeatedly until all the air is knocked out then divide into 12 pieces and roll into balls
Place them fairly close together, on a baking trays lined with baking paper
Cover your trays with greased cling film or put 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 again
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7
For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with about 5 tbsp of water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into an icing bag
When the buns have risen pipe a cross over each bun
Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays around halfway through if necessary
Melt the golden syrup in a pan and while the buns are still warm, brush them with a little syrup to give them their nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack
Serve warm with butter
Make your own Mixed Spice by blending:
- 1 tbs ground allspice
- 1 tbs ground cinnamon
- 1 tbs ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground mace
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground Ginger