Easter, and specifically Good Friday is the traditional day for eating Hot Cross Buns. In fact it wouldn’t be Easter in the UK if there were no Hot Cross Buns. They are a deliciously fruity and spicy bun, with a cross on the top. I have made them before, but today I used a recipe from Mary Berry, on the BBC Food site. I adhered fairly closely to the recipe, except that for me currants are more traditional than sultanas, so I made a substitution. This recipe also has a slight difference from most, in that the glaze is golden syrup rather than the more usual apricot jam. This gives a lovely sticky top and so nice and sweet as you bite into the bun. Mary’s recipe uses mixed spice, whereas in her video she mentions that all spice is more traditional. So I used all spice.
Double proving of the dough means that it takes a while to make the buns, but it is well worth the effort, since they turn out wonderfully well.
If you aren’t in the UK you may not have heard of Hot Cross Buns before, but I can assure you that you will surely enjoy them.
Of course you don’t need to eat them only on Good Friday, they are fine at any time. They are also good toasted, so if you have some left and they are starting to go stale they will still taste wonderful toasted with some butter on them.
Although traditionally mixed candied peel is used in the buns it would be fine to substitute some other dried fruit, such as glace cherries or cranberries, if you don’t like the peel.
Mine turned out very well and tasted great so I urge you all to give these a try. If you do them now you will be in time for Good Friday.
for the buns:
- 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 75g/2¾oz caster sugar
- 2 tsp all spice powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 lemon, finely grated zest only
- 10g/¼oz salt
- 10g/¼oz fast-action dried yeast
- 40g/1½oz butter
- 300ml/10fl oz milk
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- 200g/7oz pinhead currants
- 50g/1¾oz finely chopped mixed peel
- oil, for greasing
- 75g/2¾oz plain flour
- 100ml cold water
- 2 tbsp golden syrup, for glazing
- Put the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl of a stand mixer and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl. This can all be done by hand rather than in a mixer.
- Melt the butter in a pan and warm the milk in a separate pan.
- Add the butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients.
- Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together,
- Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough (you may not need all of the milk).
- When the dough is a good silky and elastic consistency add the currants and mixed peel and continue to kneed to combine.
- Oil a bowl and place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
- 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.
- Cover each baking tray and eave for 40-60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
- For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with 100ml/3½fl oz water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into the icing bag.
- When the buns have risen uncover them 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.
- 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.