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Hot Cross Buns Recipe

These are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, and are believed to date back to pagan times, the cross later being added to ward off evil spirits and bad luck.
They would originally have been made as a large loaf, but these are now seldom found.

Key Features

  • Suitable for Vegetarians

Ingredients

Equipment:
A big mixing bowl; a small piping bag and nozzle, if wishing to add cross.


Ingredients for 12 buns:

- 450g Strong White Flour

- 1 teaspoon (5ml) Salt

- 3 rounded teaspoons Ground Mixed Spice

- 100g Caster Sugar

- 1 * 7g sachet of Fast Action Dried Yeast

- 250g Dried Mixed Fruit

- 50g Unsalted Butter

- 250ml Milk, plus 3 tablespoon (45ml) extra for the glaze

- 1 medium Egg, lightly-beaten

- 50g Plain Flour

Method

- Sift the strong flour, salt and ¾ of the mixed spice into a big mixing bowl and lightly mix the ingredients.

- Add half the caster sugar, the dried yeast and the mixed fruit to the flour mixture.

- Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.

- Gently melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the 250ml milk and heat for 1 minute until the milk is tepid

- Pour the milk mixture into the flour, then add the egg and stir thoroughly to form a soft dough.

- Turn out onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the mixture is smooth and elastic.

- Divide the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces, and shape into a ball. Then place onto a lightly-greased, baking sheet, making sure that there is space between each of the buns - so use two baking sheets if necessary.

- Cover with a clean, damp tea towel or lightly-oiled clingfilm.

- Leave to prove in a warm place for about 1-1½ hours, until doubled in size.

- Preheat the oven to 190ºC, gas mark 5.

- To make the crosses, put the plain flour into a small bowl and gradually add 5-6 tablespoons (75-90ml) of cold water to form a smooth, thick paste - the quantity of the water will depend of the type of flour used.

- Spoon this mixture into a small piping bag and neatly pipe a cross over each of the buns. (If you don't have a piping bag, use a small food bag with a tiny corner snipped off).

- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden in colour.

- Meanwhile prepare the glaze - place the remaining milk, 3 tablespoons (45ml) cold water, the remaining mixed spice and sugar in a small pan and heat gently for 2-3 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

- When the buns are cooked, transfer them onto a cooling rack and brush the glaze over each one twice. Allow to cool.

They are best eaten warm, or cut in half, toasted and spread with butter.

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