Easter is coming, which means lots of chocolate, a four day Bank Holiday weekend (yes!) and of course hot cross buns. I absolutely love a hot cross bun, so the next new recipe to try was a no brainer this fortnight.
Although I’ve sadly had to leave my monthly baking group due to my working hours being extended to 8pm, trying all those new things has really given me the confidence to just give things a go. While baking always felt like such an exact and unattainable art, I’ve learnt to just plunge in and give it my best shot! Sure, I’ve described a lot of my bakes as ‘rustic’… but if it doesn’t look handmade then what’s the point, right?
Jokes aside, this recipe is actually pretty easy and I’m really happy with how they’ve come out. If you want to strive for a neater appearance, then you can of course weigh out the dough when dividing it into twelve pieces. Equally, you can probably spend a bit more time than I did gently rolling these into neat balls! For other hot cross bun amateurs out there, I can tell you that ‘mixed peel’ is a thing you can buy in most supermarkets in the baking section! For this recipe you’ll need have a piping bag to do your crosses on the buns, attaching either a 3mm nozzle or just cutting a little hole off the end.
This recipe makes 12 hot cross buns. Overall cooking time is 2-3 hours due to the time it takes for the dough to rise, but actual prep time is only around 30mins. These bad boys should keep in the freezer for a month, so I’ve put a load in ready for having my family over on Easter Sunday.
- 500g strong white flour
- 75g caster sugar
- 2 tsp mixed spice powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- zest of 1 lemon
- 10g salt
- 10g fast-action dried yeast
- 40g butter, melted
- 300ml warm milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 200g sultanas
- 50g finely chopped mixed peel
- oil, for greasing
For the topping
- 50g plain flour
- 65ml water
- 2 tbsp golden syrup or honey, for glazing
How to make it…
- Mix the flour, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon and lemon zest together in a large bowl. Make a little well in the middle. On opposite sides of the bowl, add the salt and then the yeast.
- Gently pour the melted butter and half of your tepid warm milk into the well (If you had not done this already, just pop these into the microwave but make sure you do this in separate bowls), together with the beaten egg. Use your hands to mix together, gradually adding milk as you need to (you may not need to use it all). You should end up with a soft, stretchy dough.
- On a lightly floured surface, lightly knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. In doing so, knead the sultanas and mix peel into the dough as well.
- Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with slightly oiled clingfilm. Leave to prove in a warm place for 1.5 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, line a tray with baking paper. Divide the dough into 12 balls, rolling these up to make smooth, round balls. Then, flatten the tops slightly when you place them in the baking tray to form bun-shapes. Position the buns so that they are close together but not touching. Then cover in lightly oiled clingfilm again, and leave to prove in another warm space for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 220ºC (200ºC Fan/ Gas Mark 7). Mix the flour and the water together to make a thick, smooth paste. Spoon these into the icing bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
- Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes, or until they turn a pale golden brown colour. While the buns are still warm, gently brush either honey or syrup over the top to give them a nice shine.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack or enjoy hot, fresh from the oven.
Adapted from the baking master that is Mary Berry on her Easter Feast, found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mary_berrys_hot_cross_65003