Easter conjures up memories of egg hunts, of stirring golden syrup, butter and cocoa powder together to make chocolate nests, of devouring fruity hot cross buns whenever the opportunity presented itself. I used to be one of those people who gobbled their hot cross buns up in a few bites, as they were: plain, sans beurre. These days, I’m more likely to wedge them in the toaster (if I’m short on time) or whack them under the grill (if time’s on my side), slather them in jam and enjoy them warm. Although there’s any number of flavours to choose from these days – including ‘Toffee Fudge and Belgian Chocolate’, ‘Apple and Cinnamon’ and ‘Mango, Pineapple and Papaya’, to name but a few of the traditional hot cross bun’s exotic cousins – I’d much rather have the original, full of juicy sultanas and mixed peel.
Recipe | Hot Cross Buns
This recipe makes approx. 10-12 hot cross buns, and is adapted from the recipe in Delia’s Complete Cookery Course.
For the buns:
- 450g plain flour
- 60g granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons dried yeast
- 1½ teaspoons ground mixed spice
- 150ml hand hot water (50ml of hot water mixed with 100ml of cold should do the trick)
- 50ml warm milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 50g butter, melted
- 100g sultanas
- 100g dried mixed peel
For the crosses:
- 50g plain flour
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
For the glaze:
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- Stir the plain flour, granulated sugar, salt, dried yeast and ground mixed spice together in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the hand hot water, a little at a time, and stir to combine.
- Mix in the warm milk, beaten egg and melted butter.
- Tip in the sultanas and dried peel and give the mixture a good stir.
- Leave the dough in a warm place to rise for about an hour. (I covered my bowl with a piece of lightly oiled clingfilm and sat it by the radiator.)
- Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 10 to 12 evenly sized balls.
- Make the pastry crosses by mixing the plain flour and cold water together. Once combined, roll it out and cut it into thin strips. Position these on top of the buns to form the shape of a cross. (If you need to, dab a little cold water on the pastry cross to help it stick to the bun.)
- Bake the buns for 15-18 minutes at 220°C (fan) or 180°C (normal oven).
- While the buns are in the oven, prepare the glaze. Put two tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small saucepan, and heat until the sugar dissolves.
- When the buns are golden brown, remove them from the oven and use a pastry brush to glaze them with the sugary mixture.
- If you find it helpful, you can use a knife to slice a cross across the top of each bun and position the pastry crosses in the gaps.
- Homemade hot cross buns are best eaten within a few days of baking; freeze them for later if you’ve baked more than you can eat within that timeframe.