So this is a bit embarrassing…. I haven’t written a blog post in nearly 3 years. It always seems to be on the to do list but never seems to get done – sorry! Nevertheless I’ve managed to put one together today – hoorah.
For the last 3 Easters we have sold Hot Cross Bun Kits but this year we aren’t making any so I thought I’d share our favourite recipe for classic Hot Cross Buns. Let me know if you’d like the chocolate version too.
Warm 100ml of milk in a pan or in the microwave until it’s just warm, take off the heat and drop in 30g of butter to soften in the warm milk.
Measure out 250g strong white flour, 37g golden caster sugar, 4g easy bake dried yeast, half tsp salt, half tsp cinnamon and quarter tsp mixed spice in a large bowl. Add one egg and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. Mix it all together with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a sticky dough. Leave the mix for 5-10 minutes to relax.
Now’s the time to get your hands dirty. Put your dough onto a clean worksurface start squishing it, pulling it, stretching it. Don’t worry too much about your technique here, the important thing is that the dough is being stretched about a bit. You will almost certainly think something has gone wrong because it will seem very sticky and messy – it hasn’t, keep going and it will slowly start to change. Eventually though dough’s desire to stick to your hands and the worktop will change into a desire to stick to itself and your worktop and hands will be miraculously clean! If you really can’t bare the stickiness, a tiny drop of oil on your hands and worktop will help.
Here’s a little video showing you my kneading technique
Alternatively let an electric stand mixer with a dough hook attachment do all this for you (about 10 mins on the slowest setting).
Eventually (after 8-12 mins of work) you will have a smooth dough – well done the hard part is over! Put your lovely dough into a large bowl and cover with cling film. Leave your covered dough somewhere warm (near a radiator or in an airing cupboard) for 60-90 minutes, until it’s doubled in size. You’ll know your dough is ready for the next stage if you prod it and your finger leaves a dent.
Add the 75g of mixed dried fruit to the bowl, squish it, fold it and stretch it till it’s all mixed through.
If you have a small eating apple spare, peel and chop it into small cubes add this to the dough at the same time as the dried fruit, it adds a lovely fresh taste to the buns.
Divide your dough into 6 or 7 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball between your hands and space them out on a baking tray lined with parchment. Lay your cling film on top of the balls but don’t wrap them tightly –they have more growing to do. Leave them for another 30-60 mins.
Try to keep the top side of the buns free of fruit as it will dry out when baking
Part 3 (almost there)
Preheat your oven to 190c/170c(fan)/gas 5.
The crosses are purely for decoration, so if you can’t be bothered with adding them don’t worry. Your buns will be just as yummy (slightly less hot cross bunny, but there’s no judgement here!).
To add crosses to your buns mix the 25g of flour with 2 tablespoons of water. Keep mixing until you have a smooth paste, the consistency you are aiming for is PVA glue. Add another half tablespoon of water if it’s too thick, but go steady as you can’t go back if you add too much water. Use a teaspoon to drizzle this paste to form a cross on the top of each bun. Alternatively spoon the paste into a little piping bag and artfully pipe your crosses on (very fancy!)
Bake your buns for 15-18 minutes, take them out when they are a dark golden colour but still soft inside. While they are still warm, heat up 2 tablespoons of apricot jam (microwave in a mug for 10 seconds) brush the jam over the tops of all your buns to give them a sweet, shiny glaze.
Well done you made it, doesn’t your kitchen smell yummy now!?
PLEASE NOTE: If you are toasting your hot cross buns (it’s our favourite way to eat them) please be careful. The apricot glaze gets very hot in a toaster and will burn, so just give them a light toasting or better still go ‘old school’ and toast them under the grill, cut side up.
Most importantly enjoy them!