One a penny, two a penny, hot cross-buns
Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, these days hot cross buns seem to be available practically year-round, more ten a penny than two. If you’re tired of lacklustre shop-bought buns, try making your own. They’re straightforward to make – as with most baked goods the main ingredient is time and a little elbow grease. Enjoy them as fresh as can be, warm and fragrant from the oven.
- 500g strong white flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Grated zest of one lemon
- 1 x 7g sachet of yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 300ml milk
- 40g butter,diced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 50g mixed peel
- 175g sultanas
For the crosses
- 75g plain flour
- 5 tbsp water
For the glaze
- 2 tbsp apricot jam or shredless orange marmalade
- Sift the flour, spices and caster sugar into a big bowl. Add the lemon zest and stir to distribute evenly. Add the salt on one side of the bowl, the yeast on the other. Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture.
- Warm the milk in a pan until just below boiling point. Add the butter to the milk and stir gently until it has melted and combined with the milk. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then pour into the flour mixture, adding the beaten egg and mixing to form a sticky dough.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about ten minutes or until the dough has come together in a smooth ball. (If you have a stand mixer you can use the dough hook for this stage.)
- Transfer the dough to a clean, oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place to prove for about 40 mins to an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Knock back the dough to expel any air bubbles and flatten out onto a floured surface.
Sprinkle over the sultanas and candied peel and knead until the fruit is evenly incorporated and the dough is silky smooth.
- Roll into a ball or sausage shape and divide into 12 equal pieces. Using the palms of your hands, roll each piece into a neat round shape.
- Transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking paper, leaving a few centimetres between each bun. Cover with oiled cling film, or a clean drying-up cloth and leave to prove for another 40 minutes or so.
- While the buns are proving, preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C. Mix the plain flour with some water to make a thick paste, adding the water gradually so you get the right consistency. Using a piping bag with 5mm nozzle pipe a cross onto each bun.
- Bake for 20 mins, or until the buns make a hollow sound when tapped. While the buns are still warm, melt the jam or marmalade in a pan to form a runny glaze and brush over the buns to give them a professional, glossy finish. Serve warm with butter, clotted cream, jam or honey.